Coffee Drinking Fights Off Prostate and Breast
Cancer: Happy Older Americans Month
Senior citizens say they will give up sex before coffee;
must be delighted with latest news on how it protects both sexes from most
May 19, 2011 - The results of two recent studies
may make this the best Older American’s Month in history for senior
citizens men and women. A new study indicates drinking coffee regularly
lowers the risk of prostate cancer. This follows a report earlier this
month saying women coffee drinkers have less breast cancer. The news
cannot get much better than that for seniors, who long ago declared
coffee their favorite drink.
Coffee has been associated in prior studies with a
lower risk of Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstone disease,
and liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Coffee may reduce risk of lethal prostate cancer
Men who regularly drink coffee appear to have a
lower risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer, according to
the new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers.
What's more, the lower risk was evident among men who drank either
regular or decaffeinated coffee.
The researchers chose to study coffee because it
contains many beneficial compounds that act as antioxidants, reduce
inflammation, and regulate insulin, all of which may influence prostate
The study examined the association between coffee
consumption and the risk of prostate cancer, particularly the risk for
aggressive prostate cancer among 47,911 U.S. men in the Health
Professionals Follow-Up Study who reported their coffee consumption
every four years from 1986 to 2008. During the study period, 5,035 cases
of prostate cancer were reported, including 642 fatal or metastatic
Among the findings:
● Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more
cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of
● The inverse association with coffee was even
stronger for aggressive prostate cancer. Men who drank the most coffee
had a 60% lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.
● The reduction in risk was seen whether the men
drank decaffeinated or regular coffee, and does not appear to be due to
● Even drinking one to three cups of coffee per
day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer.
● Coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke and
less likely to exercise, behaviors that may increase advanced prostate
cancer risk. These and other lifestyle factors were controlled for in
the study and coffee still was associated with a lower risk.
Administration on Aging promoting local events,
offers online games
May 2, 2011 - Older Americans Month, which began on
May 1, is an occasion to show appreciation and support for our seniors
as they continue to enrich and strengthen our communities, according to
the Administration on Aging, which sponsors the annual event.
The results from this study, published May 17,
2011, in an online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer
Institute, need to be validated in additional populations that have
a range of coffee exposure and a large number of lethal prostate cancer
cases. If confirmed, the data would add to the list of other potential
health benefits of coffee.
The authors currently are planning additional
studies to understand specific mechanisms by which coffee may
specifically lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer.
“Our study is the largest to date to examine
whether coffee could lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer,” says
senior author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at
HSPH.." Lethal prostate cancer, he says, is cancer that causes death or
spreads to the bones.
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed
form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among U.S.
men, affecting one in six men during their lifetime. More than 2 million
men in the U.S. and 16 million men worldwide are prostate cancer
The study was supported by the National Cancer
Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the American Institute
for Cancer Research, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Coffee reduces breast cancer risk
Researchers from Sweden compared lifestyle factors
and coffee consumption between women with breast cancer and age-matched
women without. They found that heavy coffee drinkers had a lower
incidence of ER–negative breast cancer than women who rarely drank
However they also found that several lifestyle
factors affected breast cancer rates, such as age at menopause,
exercise, weight, education, and a family history of breast cancer. The
study involved 5,929 Swedish women, aged 50 to 74.
Women who drank five cups of coffee
a day had a 33 to 57 percent lower risk for this cancer than did women
who drank less than a cup a day.
Once they had adjusted their data to account for
these other factors they found that the protective effect of coffee on
breast cancer was only measurable for ER-negative breast cancer.
The research published earlier this month in BioMed
Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research shows that
drinking coffee specifically reduces the risk of antiestrogen-resistant
estrogen-receptor (ER-negative) breast cancer but not ER-positive breast
"There is often conflicting information about the
beneficial effects of coffee – when we compared our results to that of a
German study we discovered that their data showed the same trend, but
the relationship was much weaker,” the researchers from Karolinska
“We suggest that this may have something to do with
the way the coffee was prepared, or the type of bean preferred. It is
unlikely that the protective effect is due to phytoestrogens present in
coffee since there was no reduction in the incidence of ER-positive
cancer in this study."
So while it is evident that coffee may have
beneficial effects in protecting women from ER negative breast cancer
the exact mechanism and compounds involved are not yet clear and not all
types of coffee are the same.
About ER-negative breast cancer
Many breast cancers are sensitive
to the hormone estrogen. This means that estrogen causes the breast
cancer tumor to grow, according to the National Cancer Institute. Such
cancers have estrogen receptors on the surface of their cells. They are
called estrogen receptor-positive cancer or ER-positive cancer. ER-
negative means there is not have a protein to which the hormone
estrogen will bind. (Read more in notes below.)
Prostate Cancer Study
"Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and
Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study," Kathryn M.
Wilson, Julie L. Kasperzyk, Jennifer R. Stark, Stacey Kenfield, Rob M.
van Dam, Meir J. Stampfer, Edward Giovannucci, Lorelei A. Mucci, Journal
of the National Cancer Institute, online May 17, 2011.
Breast Cancer Study
“Coffee consumption modifies risk of
estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer,” Jingmei Li, Petra Seibold,
Jenny Chang-Claude, Dieter Flesch-Janys, Jianjun Liu, Kamila Czene,
Keith Humphreys and Per Hall - Breast Cancer Research.
About breast cancer and estrogen receptor
estrogen receptor (ES-truh-jin reh-SEP-ter)
- A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue,
some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone estrogen
will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to
grow. Also called ER.
estrogen receptor negative (ES-truh-jin
reh-SEP-ter NEH-guh-tiv) - Describes cells that do not have a protein
to which the hormone estrogen will bind. Cancer cells that are estrogen
receptor negative do not need estrogen to grow, and usually do not stop
growing when treated with hormones that block estrogen from binding.
Also called ER-.
estrogen receptor positive (ES-truh-jin
reh-SEP-ter PAH-zuh-tiv) - Describes cells that have a receptor protein
that binds the hormone estrogen. Cancer cells that are estrogen receptor
positive may need estrogen to grow, and may stop growing or die when
treated with substances that block the binding and actions of estrogen.
Also called ER+.
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