Drinking coffee may increase the survival time of people with colon cancer, according to a new study.
The researchers studied 1,171 patients who were diagnosed with advanced or metastatic colon or rectal cancer and who could not be operated on. Patients completed diet and lifestyle questionnaires, including information about their coffee consumption, at the start of the study.
Compared to people who didn't drink, those who drank a cup a day had an 11 percent increased overall survival rate and a 5 percent increased rate without a progression-free life. The more coffee they drank the better. Those who drank four or more cups a day had a 36 percent increased overall survival rate and a 22 percent increased survival rate without their disease getting worse. Whether the coffee was without coffee or normal made little difference.
The study in JAMA Oncology controlled race, smoking, alcohol use, aspirin use, diabetes, and the addition of milk, non-dairy creams, or sweeteners to coffee.
Co-lead author Christopher Mackintosh, a fourth year medical student at the Mayo Clinic's Alix School of Medicine, emphasized that coffee drinking was not a cure or treatment for cancer. “If a patient is already drinking coffee,” he said, “they should feel good about it. You will not harm yourself. But I wouldn't suggest that people start drinking coffee to try to treat or prevent cancer. "