Advanced prostate cancer sufferers are less likely to die if they are heavy coffee drinkers, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.
Every cup could reduce the risk by as much as 1pc, according to researchers at China Medical University. They found as well as improving outcomes in the later stages of the disease, prostate cancer was 12pc less likely to spread if patients were heavier coffee drinkers. Patients who had advanced prostate cancer were 16pc less likely to die, they said. Researchers considered data from 16 relevant studies published up until September 2020.
The strong anti-inflammatory properties of coffee mean it can improve the prognosis for cancer patients, according to Dr Kefeng Wang, the study’s lead author. It can play a positive role in the progression of the disease.
“Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer [worldwide], and the sixth leading cause of cancer death in men,” said Dr Wang.
“This study suggests that increased coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.”
Dr Wang said further research was needed “to explore the underlying mechanisms and active compounds” in coffee and to confirm a causal link.
Nick James, a professor of prostate and bladder cancer research at the Institute of Cancer Research, said chemical processing may also be responsible for the correlation.
“This is something that has more credibility than most food association stories,” he said.
“It does also seem to be a general pattern that drinking lots of coffee doesn’t appear to have many downsides. Generally, Chinese men have lower risks of prostate cancer than Caucasian men in Europe, which is thought to relate to diet but can also relate to susceptibility.”
Dr Rachel Orritt, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said:
“We welcome more research into the different potential causes and in this case preventive factors regarding cancer. What’s important is making sure the research is of a high enough quality.”