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Does Coffee Reduce Prostate Cancer Risks?

Updated on March 14, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

Coffee is popular

With the reinvention of the old coffee shop, drinking coffee socially has risen in popularity. There are as many different specialized coffee ‘restaurants’ as there are kinds of coffee. From Starbucks to Seattle’s Best, there is a coffeehouse that will serve you the coffee flavor you want.

In coffee crazy South Korea, you can hardly walk a block without stumbling across another fad coffee house and their convenience stores are filled with both hot and cold coffee varieties. Coffee is all the rage in many parts of the world. In the Philippines, there may not be as many specialized coffee houses like Korea or the West but the average Filipino cannot seem to get enough of that hot drink.

For generations coffee has been the main beverage staple and if you do not like coffee, then you are viewed more of a pariah or oddity that belongs in the side show of freaks at Barnum and Bailey’s circus. Coffee seems to be the drink, even greater than having a glass or bottle of Coca-Cola.

Coffee & Cancer:

With all that coffee out there you must wonder does that drink have any special health benefits? Does coffee help or hurt me? At one time it was thought that drinking coffee caused cancer but that conclusion has been overturned and now more modern research ends to lean the other way.

There is one warning about coffee which may lead to supporting the former conclusion about coffee and that is it is one of the most sprayed crops in the world. The coffee plant and beans are coated in pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. It is not really known if those sprays are completely washed off from the bean or if they play any role in helping the rise of cancer.

Right now, scientific studies speak more to the disease fighting capabilities of coffee than they do on if these chemicals help induce cancer. Researchers know that coffee helps in the fight against diabetes, free radicals and memory loss. So does the beverage also aid in the fight against cancer? That has been the central question in the many studies on coffee and its supposed anti-cancer properties.

One study back in about 2010 or 2011,found that those who drank coffee the most had about a 20% less chance of contracting prostate cancer, even the lethal variety. The amount of coffee that they drank was 6 cups or more a day.

A little goes a long ways

But there is hope for those who do not drink that much coffee in a day. Those who drank only 1-3 cups a day had a 29% less chance of contracting the lethal form of prostate cancer over non-coffee drinkers; for those who drank 6 or more a day had a 60% less chance of getting the lethal disease.

In a follow-up study of just over 47,000 men over a 20 year period found that only 5,000 men developed prostate cancer and less than a thousand contracted the lethal form of the disease. The researchers could not identify the mechanism in coffee that triggered this resistance. They feel it is the antioxidants coffee contains but they cannot be sure.

Another study found that drinking coffee help men from re-contracting the disease once they were cured of it. The study followed only those men who had previously been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers wanted to see if the pattern of these men’s coffee (or tea) drinking contributed to the hindering of re-occurrence of the cancer.

The results were that 60% of the men drank at least one cup of coffee a day and that 14% drank more than 4 cups or more per day. The former group was 56% less likely chance of recontracting prostate cancer than those who drank 1 or less cups per day. The latter group had a 59% less likely chance of recontracting the disease.

In this study, about 38 men died from prostate cancer. The study covered approx. 1,000 men so researchers are cautious to make any earth-shattering announcements about the miracle medical cure of coffee. But then scientists are known not to hedge their bets. Their opinion may change in a new decade or with new study results.

There is also no real data tracking if either decaffeinated coffee or the caffeinated version were the real heroes of the day. From what can be found in these studies is that the men followed drank both kinds of coffee thus it is impossible to pinpoint which variety of coffee did the trick and hindered prostate cancer from reoccurring.

There are some other problems that need to be considered here as while drinking lots of coffee in a day may be a proven cancer fighter, too much coffee can lead to other problems. Caffeine could affect other parts of the body like hypertension, cholesterol and cause stress as some example of the harmful effects of drinking too much coffee.

The words of warning, ‘everything in moderation ’may be the key to allowing coffee to be a health benefit and not a cause of many other health problems.

Back to cancer

Another study conducted in Italy showed that there was over a 50% drop in liver cancer rates if a person drank 1-3 cups of coffee a day. Now the liver is not the prostate but if coffee helps the liver conquer this old foe, then it probably aids the prostate in its fight against the form of cancer that attacks it.

For women , a study found that if they drank 4 cups of coffee a day they had a 25% less chance of contracting uterine cancer. Again not the prostate but the evidence points to coffee’s ability and capability to battle against all cancers. The same study showed that drinking 1 cup of coffee a day reduces the person’s risk of contracting any form of cancer by 3%. Any form of cancer includes the prostate version.

It is recommended that a person drinks up to 3 cups of coffee per day to get the full benefit of coffee’s prowess against cancer. Another interesting find in that study was that one did not have to purchase and consume expensive, imported beans to get coffee’s cancer fighting properties into your body.

Lighter roasts seem to be superior to those fancy brands for they contain more antioxidants than the darker roasts. This is good news for those coffee drinkers on a very tight budget. They are not deprived of what coffee can do for their health because they cannot afford the cost of the imported or fancy roasts of coffee.

There is a version of preground coffee that is sitting on the shelf and their price is tailored made for the slimmest of shopping budgets

One drawback to this news is that the research articles all seem to quote the same studies. This means that the news is old and the research is not up to date or being found in new studies. It also means that follow up studies or new research may be still under way and their results and conclusions will not be known for some time yet.

Tea and Cancer

A quick word or two about tea drinking, while one study did include following some men who drank tea, it is not known how many drank that beverage alone. The majority of those studied drank both coffee and tea so the results cannot speak to tea’s cancer fighting ability. But then tea has had its own studies conducted over the years and those have shown the results for that hot drink. Usually they are very favorable as most teas are a prove cancer fighter, especially the green variety.

One cannot go wrong drinking tea and it is a good idea to add that beverage to anyone’s diet.

More on coffee and cancer

While it is not known exactly which ingredient in coffee is the anti-cancer mechanism, researchers do have an idea of which ones may be the possible candidates. These include caffeine, which is known to hinder cancer cell growth; then there is diterpenes cafestol and kahweol which duplicates what caffeine does and hinders cancer cell growth; and finally chlorogenic acid which work son the DNA to help prevent cancer.

But on the other side of the coin and to repeat an earlier warning, some UK researchers have found that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day contributed to an early death.

Thus rises the scientist hesitation. If you remember the egg fiasco, where the egg was determined by scientists to be harmful to a person and then a year later it was ‘discovered’ that earlier studies were in error and eggs were good for you after all. So it seems to be with coffee.

If you drink four or more cups a day you have a greater risk of contracting cancer but if you do drink 4 or more cups a day you could come to an early end. This is the contradiction that is found in almost all scientific studies and experiments.

Most studies have found a significant reduction in prostate cancer risks if you only drink 1 to 3 cups a day, which is below that dangerous 4 cup or more a day redline. As we said earlier, moderation seems to be the key in healthy living and coffee should be restricted to a few cups a day. We all know that limiting one’s coffee intake is very hard to do as it smells so good and tastes great, usually.

But you need to be strong and do it. The studies are consistent in this advice and drinking too much coffee will lead to other health problems if you are not careful, but it is good to know that coffee is not a health risk but actually an aid to good health.

Some final comments

Don’t think that coffee can fight cancer alone its own or that you can eat anything you want then down a cup of coffee to negate any negative or harmful effects from a poor diet choice. Healthy living just doesn’t work that way. You still need to eat right but in your design of a healthy diet , you can add a limited number of cups of coffee per day.

Again, you do not have to limit your coffee intake to one brand or variety. You can choose to drink either hot or cold coffee, any flavor, any variety of beans or ground roast and still walk away knowing that the coffee you drank is fighting prostate and other cancers. Whether it is Tahitian blend, Chia, or caramel or whatever flavor you like, or whether it comes from a cold Coffee House in California Bowery House or wherever you know that you are getting anti-cancer properties and you have a less risk of contracting cancer than those who do not drink coffee.

So sit back and enjoy your favorite coffee and relax. Coffee is not the demon drink it once was and now it can be enjoyed like you enjoy a glass of fine red wine. Killing the stress will also help your healthy living and taking a few moments to drink a cup of coffee and just watch the world go by will help make your life better.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 David Thiessen

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