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Can Drinking Coffee Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

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Researchers have carried out a detailed study involving 47,911 men over almost 20 years to assess the effects of drinking relatively large amounts of coffee on the risks of contracting prostate cancer. The results showed that drinking more than six cups of coffee a day resulted in an 18% reduction in the probability of contracting the disease and also a 60% reduction in the probability that the prostate cancer would prove fatal. It did not seem to matter if the coffee was caffeinated or not.

The research was carried out in the US at the Harvard School of Public Health and was funded by three large cancer research institutions in that country.

While the research appears to show strong evidence of a link between drinking coffee and prostate cancer, there is still a need for some caution when interpreting the results. Critics point out that the men were questioned every four years and that their consumption may have varied significantly between those samples being taken. Other studies have also shown that drinking large amounts of coffee may have other more negative effects on health, including the onset of heart palpitations.

The researchers defended their findings, pointing out that previous studies had been on much smaller sample sizes and also looked at men whose coffee consumption did not vary as widely as in the case of this study. They also did not look at the effect of coffee consumption on the more advanced stages of the disease and in particularly the fatality rate. The amount of coffee consumption seems particularly significant in low grade cancer since no association was found between coffee consumption and the lower grade prostate cancers.

Overall men were urged not to start drinking large amounts of coffee as a result of the study since the results could not be considered conclusive and also that large amounts of coffee may result in other health problems. It seems that the jury is still out in the case of coffee vs prostate cancer.

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