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Study Links Coffee to Lower Risk of Endometrial Cancer
Date:11/22/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women who drink moderate to high amounts of coffee may reduce their risk for endometrial cancer, new research reveals.

The finding stems from what investigators call the largest study to date to explore the impact of coffee and tea on the risk of endometrial cancer, which is cancer that originates in the lining of the uterus.

The study found that women who consume four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day appear to lower their risk for endometrial cancer by 25 percent, relative to women who drink less than one cup a day.

Drinking fewer than four cups a day did not appear to offer any preventative benefit, however. Nor did drinking tea.

But there was some indication that decaffeinated coffee might be helpful, as drinking two or more cups of decaf daily was linked (although only tentatively) to a 22 percent drop in endometrial cancer risk.

Still, "this study does not prove cause and effect," cautioned study co-author Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "But this observation has been suggested previously, and there's strong reason now to believe that this association is real."

Giovannucci pointed to a number of potential explanations. "One is that women with higher levels of estrogen and insulin are at a higher risk for endometrial cancer, and coffee seems to reduce levels of both," he said. "Also women with diabetes also face a much higher risk, and coffee has been associated with a lower risk for diabetes. So there are several factors that could be involved.

"We also think that any risk reduction is probably related to something other than caffeine," he added. "Because coffee is a fairly complex beverage with literally thousands of compounds. In fact, coffee has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants, and any number of those could have
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