Coffee helps colon cancer patients recover, study finds

Coffee helps colon cancer patients recover, study finds
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Good news for coffee drinkers: Drinking coffee could help colon cancer patients survive the deadly disease and prevent it from coming back after treatment, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In studying 1,000 patients with stage 3 colon cancer who had all been treated with surgery and chemotherapy, Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at the Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found that patients had the greatest benefits from drinking four or more cups of coffee a day. 

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The patients were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return than those who did not drink coffee and were 34 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause, the study found. Meanwhile, patients who drank three cups of coffee or less had more modest results.

Though the results are encouraging, the institute said Fuchs is hesitant make any recommendations about coffee consumption in colon cancer patients until the results are confirmed by other studies.

"If you are a coffee drinker and are being treated for colon cancer, don't stop," he said in a new release. "But if you're not a coffee drinker and wondering whether to start, you should first discuss it with your physician."

The study, which Fuchs said is the first to draw an association between caffeinated coffee and the risk of colon cancer recurrence, joins a number of recent studies that suggest coffee may reduce the risk of other types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer, melanoma, liver cancer and advanced prostate cancer.

Not a fan of coffee?

Fuchs said there are other ways to reduce the risk of cancer: avoid obesity, exercise regularly, adopt a healthier diet and eat nuts, which also reduce the risk of diabetes.