Coffee consumption may increase the survival chances of people diagnosed with colon cancer while reducing the risk of the disease worsening, according to new research published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
Based on an observational study of 1,171 patients treated for metastatic colorectal cancer, those who reported drinking two to three cups of coffee per day were likely to live longer overall, and had a longer time before their disease worsened. Those who drank more coffee fared even better.
The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Compared to people who drank none, coffee drinkers showed an 11 percent increase in survival rate and a 5 percent greater rate of living progression-free, based on food intake data collected during a 13-year period ending in 2018.
Participants who reported drinking more than four cups of coffee per day showed a 36% increase in survival rate, and a 22% increase in surviving without their disease worsening. Whether the coffee was decaf or regular made little difference.
Because the scientific community does not yet have a firm grasp on the cause-and-effect relationship between coffee consumption and colorectal cancer results, the authors stopped short of recommending coffee as a possible treatment method.
“Although it is premature to recommend a high intake of coffee as a potential treatment for colorectal cancer, our study suggests that drinking coffee is not harmful and may potentially be beneficial,” Kimmie Ng, a senior author of the study from the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Dana-Farber Institute, said in an announcement of the findings.