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back to article Heavy coffee drinking wards off deadly cancer in men

Splendid news today for many Reg readers and journalists: a new study indicates that heavy coffee drinking staves off deadly prostate cancer in men. Some 47,911 US men were surveyed over the period 1986 to 2008 for the research. During this time some 5,035 of them developed prostate cancer with 642 dying of it. According to …

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Hooray!

Now I have an answer for my wife when she says too much coffee is bad for me!

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

I saw the Uncaged Monkeys last Sunday, Ben Goldacre assured us that the Daily Mail says that coffee both cures and causes cancer....

The big thing that you've got to ask with surveys like this is: What other problems does it cause? Loading up on stimulants all the time is hardly going to be without side effects.

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Indeed...

The obvious things:

Stimulant -> raised blood pressure -> increased heart attacks, strokes?

Dark roast -> carcinogenic organic chemicals created -> digestive system cancer risk?

These are guesses. A long-term study of heavy coffee drinkers against a control group is needed, before coffee can be recommended for warding off prostate cancer!

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@AC

The other big thing that you've also got to ask with surveys like this is: is it correlation or cause?

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A long-term study

You mean more that 50k men and longer than 22 years?

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The Daily Mail both cures and causes

... bedwetting, for example.

But only in the neo-platonist logic of a Grauniad reader could the presence of contradictory attributes be a problem, threatened as they are by the marxist dogma of dialectic, which converts sufficient quantities into quality - oooh. For everyone else, mumbo jumbo apart, it's in the dosage.

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Dead Vulture

I wonder how many died of other things

For example heavy smokers like me are unlikely to develop senile dementia but only because we don't live long enough.

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Alien

@Nigel 11 -- Yuh forgot 'Living'?

'Tis deadly. Stats show it's the ultimate terminator.

...Back to my double-shot long-black sans sugar.

Ahh, much better.

Now where were we?

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

"intellect-enhancing"

Not bloody likely.

My "supposed" peers are as thick as a fat birds thigh.

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Anonymous Coward

"My "supposed" peers are as thick as a fat birds thigh."

Words of "wisdom" from one of the biggest idiot on these forums.

I am no peer of yours, I have an education, common sense and have no need to pour out bitterness and derision at every opportunity.

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Slurp

Huzzah! Coffee Number 3 consumed, 30% risk reduction achieved for today.

Until next year when they find it causes a 30% increased risk of heart failure or something.

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Anonymous Coward

Coincidence? I think not!

An anagram of "prostate cancer's ills" is "espresso can cure it all".

If you don't mind a 't' changing into a 'u'.

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IT Angle

But more coffee is bad, says the anagrammologist.

As a certified anagrammologist (i.e., someone who is allowed to advise on everything based on anagram-derived knowledge), I have to warn you: using the plural "espressi" for "many coffees a day", we see that it's not a wonder drug...

Flipping the u around to an n: espressi cannot cure all

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Latrophobia

I'd be happy to drink more coffee if it meant avoiding the finger in the rubber glove or, worse still, the dreaded biopsy. Not to mention the effects of op itself...

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Happy

Thanks a lot!

Right in the middle of my sandwich, you rotten sod! A liquid lunch it is now then!

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Anonymous Coward

Rather than coffee..

I have my own way of lowing my prostate cancer risk. No side effects either. Well, apart from my eyesight..

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Anonymous Coward

...just do it until you need glasses...

that is all

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Gotta keep the pipes clean

.. at least once a day. This was also proven to help keep the doctor away too.

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Stop

Errrm...

Instead of all these people pumping out advice, "Do this! No, do that! No wait, don't do that anymore it's bad for you, try this one instead! No, wait!"

How about we all get out for some regular exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet? Duh, of course! Stupid me! That would involve making an effort, having to do something involving a little hard work and some thought.

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While I accept your point....

.....if you work in IT thats not an option. As we all know, swigging coffee, eating crap and wearing faded t-shirts that are too small to put ones modest belly in is what earns you the respect. Its always the same, the thin bloke who cycles everywhere never really fits in and you know the fatty bum bum with the 200+ plastic coffee cups stacked on his desk is the man to ask. (Except at lunchtime when he's sipping away on the fine amber nectar in a local boozery.)

But I'm guessing you are one of those thin guys who eats a couscous salad for lunch.....

Anyway, based purely on the register, thats now less yorkshire tea and an increase in coffee.....

DELETE FROM DIET WHERE BEVERAGE IN ('TEA','WATER');

INSERT INTO DIET (BEVERAGE, QUANTITY) VALUES ('COFFEE',10);

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@Errm

You do realise that the people saying "Do this! No, do that!" are generally the same people saying regular exercise is good for you? I don't see why you should ignore some of the advice but follow other parts.

Of course, without changing job, many people, including me, have no option but to sit around in front of a PC. During the day, we can enjoy the health benefits of a nice cup of coffee. The regular exercise will have to wait until the evening. They are not mutually exclusive.

Or do you have some study which shows that coffee undoes the health benefits of exercise?

No? Thought not.

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the active indredient is probably...

...the ciggie that goes with the coffee.

@ac...Rather than coffee....use your left hand to rebalance your eyesight

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Stop

control group?

How about the affect of fluids flushing through your system as opposed to any magic coffee ingredient, was there also a control group that just had water?

Sounds like the research was sponsored by Nescafe?

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Reminds me of this...

http://kill-or-cure.heroku.com/

All of the Daily Mail's xxxx causes cancer vs xxxx cures cancer headlines distilled into one handy reference. Unsurprisingly, many things cause AND cure cancer, according to the cancer-obsessed newspaper.

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Troll

damn, wrong commentard clicked on

Just pointing out that the healthy exercise (yes, there is unhealthy exercise, its called the Olympics)

one gains from staggering up to coffee machine in brew room must assist in upping ones activity.

Not to mention getting some fluid leaking thru the rapidly drying bodies of IT workers in the usually dry, hot, stuffy (in both senses) collection of cubicles scathingly referred to to as offices.

At least celibrate that for once, the killjoy, hairshirt, freeze in the dark mob have said something to be thankful for.

As for survey sponsored by Nescafe comment, you dont work in IT, do you ? No-one I know drinks that stuff except under duress. Even in this scungy hell hole they buy a better brew which is actually quite drinkable for an instant. As for coffee machine, Geneva convention calls. Club across road does well as a result.

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FAIL

Relative Risk

20% less likely? But what was the original risk? If it was 0.1% to start with, a 20% decrease of 0.1% is barely anything. If my maths are correct that would reduce the risk to 0.08%. Still seems just as unlikley to me.

These stats are useless and just headline grabbers without the full set of information. (not blaming Reg here though).

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Try reading the article

"47,911 US men were surveyed over the period 1986 to 2008 for the research. During this time some 5,035 of them developed prostate cancer with 642 dying of it."

I make that about 10% chance of cancer and 1.3% chance of dying from it.

Or with the coffee, 8% chance of cancer with 0.5% chance of dying.

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Anonymous Coward

Risk...

The risk of getting prostate cancer, if you live to old age is in the 90% region (possibly higher, although from memory) Interestingly the NHS find that if you just leave it alone it doesn't really cause problems, most old men die with prostate cancer of some sort without knowing about it. If it does cause problems they whip it out. This gives rise to one of the "USA/private medicine is better than the NHS" stats, it goes something like this:

The NHS monitor prostate cancers, only operating on problem prostate cancers, therefore they have an "elevated" level of patient deaths becuase of complications. The system in the USA tend to operate as soon as a problem is noticed, mainly due to fear of being sued, this means that they have a high "survival" rate becuase most of the cancers were not a problem in the first place and were never going to be. They do have the problem of subjecting patients to procedures which aren't strictly speaking needed and do have side effects, which is rather dodgy...

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Re: Risk

Care to back this claim up?

How is 'old age' defined?

I smell something which would expelled from near a bull's prostate.

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@Risk

USA health care is based on the "bring out your dead" model.

Insurers project your expected life span and multiply by their profit should you live to that age and subtract the amount your life-saving treatment would cost them.

If the result is zero or negative, they deny the claim (AKA throw you under a bus). I believe the yanks call this a "death panel".

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Coffee/keyboard

'Ere, I'm not dead yet!

>WHACK!<

"USA health care is based on the "bring out your dead" model."

Best explanation of US health "care" I've ever heard. I raise a mug of coffee to you, sir (to replace the one I just spewed all over the table).

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Anonymous Coward

re: re: Risk

I can't back it up (offhand, with links - it's late and I'm going to bed!) other than to say that my partner's father is a pathologist and I know a couple of doctors all of whom say the same thing.

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Risk is consistent with other published work

comment matches other "stories" read on dead tree and on-line.

Most old men have an enlarged prostate.

Whether it matters is another issue. Most men die of old age complications before treatment is needed.

Usual caveats apply, weight, diet exercise.

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Interesting

So you're saying I'm indestructible?

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Anonymous Coward

people come second to goldfish in memory test

couple of days ago: 'Speculators drive up cost of coffee'

yesterday : 'coffee cures cancer'

tomorrow: 'speculator looks round a few nice properties in mayfair with a view to buy.'

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Coat

So,

Was the speculator a goldfish?

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WTF?

But should it be decaf?

Medical opinion used to hold that caffeine over-stimulated the prostate, I was told to switch to decaf to ease on the nocturnal yo-yoing twixt bed and bog.

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important info we need to know....

instant or ground?

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Instant or ground?

I'm hoping like hell that they said ground is better. I only drink instant when I'm absolutely desperate.

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Prostate cancer

It's such a mis-guided goal. Almost all men, if they live long enough, will get prostate cancer. Whether its an issue, or is even detected is another whole thing. The higher incidence of prostate cancer these days is down to increased testing, to catch the few cases where it is an issue.

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Feet size 10? Prepare for a sudden lay off from work...

And it has been proven that you are 35% more likely to get hit in a road accident if you get up on the right hand side of your bed.

So for 22 years these 47,911 people (presumably clones to rule out genetic bias towards prostate cancer) did exactly the same thing, ate exactly the same foods, exercised the same but one group had tea to drink, one group coffee, one group decaf coffee, one group water? Or did we just get a show of hands "Who drinks coffee?... Who died of prostate cancer?"

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Stop

Oh and please rate this article down

Studies are for R&D companies to find avenues of investigation for controlled experiments and trials, this particular study sounds like scraping the bottom of the barrel really. They certainly should not be publicised with any significance in any news outlets.

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Fairly normal?

"a fairly normal six-plus cups per day"? Perhaps in the world of journalism.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Fairly normal?

Yes. There you are.

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@ 'Perhaps in the world of journalism'

You do know this website is aimed at IT support people, right ?

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Go

work in IT?

Only six ? Thats my heart starting routine before morning tea.

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Six cups of American coffee

Which is about as strong a their beer.

Mind you, the coffee situation has improved greatly since the late 80's over there, as long as you stay away from those awful chains.

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FAIL

Forgot one thing as usual

I keep reading those research pieces debating whether coffee is good for you. In one study you'll see it's fabulous, and in another, it's leading you straight to the tomb.

What those guys forgot to do in their specimen selection is to check their ability to process caffeine. Not all humans can process caffeine. Those who can are reaping the benefits of coffee: lower cancer risk, better liver, bla bla bla.. Those who cannot get the short end of the stick: high blood pressure, tachycardia, etc.

It would be nice for once to have a study that took that in consideration, and while I'm at it, a way to test whether one has the gene to process caffeine or not.

AC

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Re: Forgot one thing as usual

You did notice that the study said it worked with decaf too, right?

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Stop

We need to know.....

What is the best brand of coffee for warding off cancer then?

What was the average temperature of the hot water used?

What brand of milk (if there was milk) complements the coffee best?

How many sugars were people using?

How can we hope to duplicate this wondrous test if we don't know all the stats!

Come on people this is a matter of public health!

Also as mentioned above.... how many had a ciggie with their cups of coffee?? (in fact what brands were most popular for that matter!)

Won't somebody think of the children!

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