Increasing coffee consumption linked to decreased prostate cancer risk

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  • Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide
  • A new study assessed the effect of coffee on prostate cancer
  • It found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of prostate cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and prostate cancer kills around 1.28 million men a year.

A recent study published in BMJ Open found that a daily cup of coffee could decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Weighing up potential risks

For the purpose of the study, researchers systematically reviewed eligible studies from three platforms (PubMed, Web of Science and Embase) that were published up to September 2020 and were carried out in North America, Japan and Europe.

In total, 16 studies were regarded as eligible; 15 of them described the risk of prostate cancer in association with the highest compared to the lowest consumption of coffee, while 13 reported on the potential risk associated with adding a cup a day.

A high level of consumption was between two to nine cups daily, whereas a lower level of consumption ranged from not drinking coffee at all to fewer than two cups a day. The studies included more than one million men, of whom 57 732 developed prostate cancer. 

Cancer risk decreased by 1% per extra cup

Results of the study show that when comparing the highest category of consumption with the lowest, the highest level of consumption was associated with lowering prostate cancer by 9%, and further reduced the risk by 1% per additional daily cup.

Upon further analysis, it was also discovered that the highest consumption lowered the risk of developing advanced or fatal prostate cancer by 12% to 16%.

The researchers did note that brewing methods and the types of coffee varied between studies and that results should be read with caution, but that their findings are nonetheless credible.

The researchers concluded: “This study suggests that increased coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Further research is still warranted to explore the underlying mechanisms and active compounds in coffee. 

“If the association is further proved to be a causal effect, men might be encouraged to increase their coffee consumption to potentially decrease the risk of prostate cancer.”

Image credit: Unsplash

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