Colorectal cancer risk appears unaffected by coffee

CoffeeNEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Coffee is not significantly associated with a decreased risk of colorectal, colon, or rectal cancer, contrary to the results of previous trials that found a possible protective effect of coffee against these cancers, according to the results of a review of studies published in the International Journal of Cancer.

"An inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer has been found in several case-control studies," but the association was not consistent in prospective cohort studies, which are designed differently, Dr. Youjin Je, of Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues note.

Case-control studies include patients with a disease or condition who are compared with "controls," healthy individuals matched up with the study group for factors such as age and sex to avoid bias. Prospective cohort studies are studies in which the participants the have a certain characteristic in common, such as smoking habit or birth order, are identified and then followed forward in time; the final outcome is unknown to the researchers before the trial ends.

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