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No Link Between Coffee, Sodas and Colon Cancer

More study needed to determine if too much tea raises risk, experts say

FRIDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Got a cola habit or a coffee addiction? Good news: A new review suggests even high amounts of coffee and sugary soft drinks might not boost your colon cancer risk.

Previous research has been inconsistent about whether coffee and tea boost the risk of cancer. Sugary sodas, meanwhile, are linked to obesity and other conditions that are thought to boost the risk of colon cancer in particular.

In the new review, published online May 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Xuehong Zhang and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health examined 13 studies from North America and Europe. Together, the studies analyzed more than 730,000 people, of whom more than 5,600 developed colon cancer.

Drinking more than six 8-ounce cups of coffee a day didn't boost the risk of colon cancer. Nor did drinking more than 18 ounces a day of sugary soft drinks, although the researchers cautioned that there were few of those people in the study, and their small numbers may have thrown off the results.

The researchers said the findings weren't affected much by factors such as gender, smoking and alcohol consumption.

There was a small boost in colon cancer risk for heavy tea drinkers (more than four 8-ounce cups of non-herbal tea a day), but there weren't many people that consumed that much tea, so researchers suggested that further study is needed.

In a commentary, researchers from the Arizona Cancer Center said that, "contrary to coffee and tea consumption, intake of sweetened beverages begins in childhood in many countries. Furthermore, sweetened beverage consumption is generally much lower among older adults. These differences in exposure suggest that intake of sweetened beverages may need to be assessed earlier in life to adequately assess its association with health outcomes."

More information

For more on colon cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Oxford Journals, news release, May 7, 2010

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