Men who drink six cups of coffee a day showed a lower risk of developing a deadly type of prostate cancer compared with nondrinkers, a large U.S. study suggests.
The study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health compared risk of aggressive prostate cancer among 47,911 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants reported their coffee consumption every four years from 1986 to 2008,
Coffee protected even more against the most lethal form of prostate cancer. Among those drinking one to three cups a day, the risk of lethal prostate cancer declined 29%, compared to that of nondrinkers. Among those drinking six or more cups daily, the risk for deadly prostate cancer was reduced 60% compared to that of nondrinkers.
The surprise: the risk reduction held for both regular coffee and decaf, leading the researchers to speculate it's not the caffeine providing the protection.
The study is published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, according to WebMD.
"Everyone agrees there is too much overdiagnosis and overtreatment of small, early prostate cancer now," study co- author Peter Scardino, chairman of surgery at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said in a telephone interview. Focusing most screening on men at higher risk based on initial PSA results "could conservatively eliminate half the men who are getting screened unnecessarily,"