Can regular visits to Starbucks save men’s lives?
A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports that regular coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of prostate cancer:
- Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer.
- The inverse association with coffee was even stronger for aggressive prostate cancer. Men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.
- The reduction in risk was seen whether the men drank decaffeinated or regular coffee, and does not appear to be due to caffeine.
- Even drinking one to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer.
- Coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise, behaviors that may increase advanced prostate cancer risk. These and other lifestyle factors were controlled for in the study and coffee still was associated with a lower risk.
This study is junk science because:
- The reported statistical correlations are in the statistical noise region — that is, they are either weak associations or statistically insignificant associations;
- The onset and development of prostate cancer is not well understood and is most likely multifactorial in nature. This statistical study in no way comes close to eliminating all other factors and identifying coffee as playing any sort of meaningful role;
- Other studies on this topic contradict it; and
- The study is nevertheless being touted as potentially meaningful.
Even if this study result was true, it should give you no comfort as its results would only apply on a population basis. That is, who knows whether you’d be one of the lucky 20 percent that coffee helped?
Keep in mind that the graveyards are filled with men who drank coffee and subsequently died of prostate cancer. Your best bet for not being one of them is to check with your physician as well as having good luck.