May 17, 2011 -- Men who drink coffee regularly appear to lower their risk of prostate cancer, especially the lethal form, new research suggests.
When the researchers looked at all forms of prostate cancer, ''the highest coffee drinkers had about a 20% lower risk of developing prostate cancer during the follow-up," says researcher Lorelei Mucci, ScD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The 20% lower risk was found in those drinking six or more cups daily compared to none, she tells WebMD.
Coffee protected even more against the most lethal form of prostate cancer. Among those drinking one to three cups a day, the risk of lethal prostate cancer declined 29%, compared to that of nondrinkers. Among those drinking six or more cups daily, the risk for deadly prostate cancer was reduced 60% compared to that of nondrinkers.
The surprise: the risk reduction held for both regular coffee and decaf, leading the researchers to speculate it's not the caffeine providing the protection.
The study is published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.