Can Coffee Lower Prostate Cancer Risk?

Coffee has historically had an up and down relationship in researchers’ eyes. What was once considered incredibly healthy, was later vilified as carcinogenic. Today, many studies have shown that coffee confers more antioxidant benefits than it does risks in the average person when consumed in moderation.

Coffee drinking might help decrease prostate cancer risk according to Urologic Surgeons of Washington

But what did recent studies say about coffee as it relates to prostate cancer risk?

Studies have shown that coffee may, in fact, reduce the incidence of aggressive prostate cancer in many men. In fact, a study appeared to show that men who drank six or more cups of coffee each day cut their chances of lethal prostate cancer by almost 20%. Those that drank one-to-three cups per day lowered their risk as well, albeit somewhat less. Interestingly, these results were seen in both caffeinated and decaf drinkers, meaning that a compound contained in the coffee, not caffeine, seems to be at play here. And while we can’t be sure why coffee offers this benefit, we have come to learn that coffee is a potent antioxidant and may prevent or reduce inflammation in the body, including in the prostate gland. If this is indeed true, coffee may have systemic benefits – not just to the prostate.

Does this mean that you should start drinking coffee all day long?

Of course, the answer to this is no. The caffeine in coffee can have other side effects which can affect you negatively. Remember, even decaf coffee contains some caffeine. The best way to manage prostate cancer is by preventing it entirely and this can be done through appropriate screenings and PSA testing according to your urologist’s recommendation. If you have a history of cancer, or if close family members have had cancer, or particularly prostate cancer, you may be at higher risk, and you should discuss this risk with your medical team.

It is important to remember that not all prostate cancers need to be treated. In fact, we have learned over the years that low-grade prostate cancers can often be watched and may never negatively affect a man for his entire life. We do our best only to treat more aggressive prostate cancers. We do so by following a PSA trend rather than simply looking at a single test result. You can watch Dr. Engel’s recent webinar on PSA testing to learn more about how we test your PSA and when we believe a biopsy is necessary.

The next step is to understand more about your prostate health and to explore what your risk might be. To develop an appropriate prostate cancer screening regimen, we encourage you to speak to a qualified physician in your medical team or make an appointment with Dr. Engel. Coffee or not, prostate cancer is preventable, and aggressive prostate cancer can be caught early and treated appropriately. Be sure to understand and follow your screening regimen which starts with a visit to your urologist.

Related Topics:

Wilson KM, Kasperzyk JL, Rider JR, et al. Coffee consumption and prostate cancer risk and progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011;103(11):876-884. doi:10.1093/jnci/djr151


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