Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a senior researcher on the study, said coffee is starting to be proven as a protective agent in cancers that are linked to obesity, estrogen and insulin.
He said :
"Coffee has already been shown to be protective against diabetes due to its effect on insulin ... So we hypothesized that we'd see a reduction in some cancers as well."
Giovannucci, and his colleagues, including Youjin Je, a doctoral candidate in his lab, looked at endometrial cancer cases in nearly 70,000 women who enrolled in the Nurse's Health Study. Over 26 years they documented 672 cases of endometrial cancer. More than four cups of coffee was linked with a 25% decrease in risk, while two to three cups had a 7% lower risk.
The results seemed to hold true for decaf as well, with a 22% reduction for more than two cups per day.
Giovannucci said he'd like to see further research on the effects of coffee on cancer, because in this and similar studies, coffee intake is self-selected and not randomized.
He said :
"Coffee has long been linked with smoking, and if you drink coffee and smoke, the positive effects of coffee are going to be more than outweighed by the negative effects of smoking ... However, laboratory testing has found that coffee has much more antioxidants than most vegetables and fruits."
Related reading: Drinking Coffee: More Good Than Harm? (9 July 2012).
Written by Rupert Shepherd