Does Coffee Consumption Lower the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

A follow-up study by the Harvard School of Public Health Researchers has found that drinking coffee is linked to the reduction of prostate cancer.

The study, published in the May 17 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, followed 47,911 men and found that those that drank 6 or more cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to develop prostate cancer for over two decades than those that didn’t drink any.

Not only that, but these heavy coffee drinkers were also found to be 60% less likely to develop a lethal form of prostate cancer. Even those who drank less coffee had benefits: they were still 30% less likely to acquire the lethal version of the disease.


Yeah, I know. That’s the obvious initial reaction to all this. The long-term effects of putting so much caffeine in your bloodstream balances out, or might even greatly outweigh the benefit of reducing the risk of prostate cancer, so why even bother?

Here’s the beauty of all this, though: the study reveals that it didn’t matter if the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated for it to lower the risk of prostate cancer.


So if the caffeine has nothing to do with this benefit, then it must be something else in the coffee, right? Coffee contains compounds that have been shown to act as antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and regulate insulin. Coffee has also been linked in previous studies to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type-2 diabetes, gallstone disease, liver cancer, and cirrhosis of the liver.


So, does this and other studies basically tell us that drinking more than one cup of joe throughout the day means a healthier, longer life? After all, the benefits seem to be linked to the other compounds found in the drink, and not the caffeine, so we can sidestep all those nasty side effects.

The study’s lead author, Kathryn M. Wilson says that “we’re not telling men to drink more coffee, but there’s mounting evidence that if they do, they don’t have to worry about it.”

Well, there you go. If you have some sort of concern with prostate cancer or any of the other diseases mentioned here, then you may want to consider drinking more coffee. Studies show that it can help you out, and you can even drink just decaf!


Noel Blanco

Hello, I'm Noel Blanco and I write Fitness Philippines. I have been involved in physical fitness for more than 10 years now and am currently taking up graduate studies on Exercise and Sports Science at the University of the Philippines.

16 thoughts on “Does Coffee Consumption Lower the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

  • May 29, 2011 at 12:07 am

    By the way, three days ago the British Journal of Pharmacology published the results of a study that shows caffeine can lower the fertility levels in women, so it seems it’s good for men but not so good for women. Maybe coffee will be the new natural anti-conceptive.

    • May 29, 2011 at 1:07 am


      As written in the article:

      “the benefits seem to be linked to the other compounds found in the drink, and not the caffeine”.

      There’s a lot of controversy against consuming a lot of caffeine in a single day, and it pretty much still all stands. There’s a recommendation in the article to just drink decaf if you want all the benefits of coffee, but without the possible side effects.

      • May 29, 2011 at 5:35 am

        You are right in what refers to prostate cancer and caffeine, the effects are due to non-caffeine components of coffee, and by the way, other studies also established the same link for pancreatic cancer, it seems non-caffeine components may also help to prevent that one.

        • May 29, 2011 at 5:57 am

          Cool, that’s very helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  • May 28, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Also, it is important that men who drink several cups of coffee per day should drink black coffee to get the health benefit and not 6 lattes or mochas, since these types of drinks add too much sugar to the diet.

    • May 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Hi Ken, exactly the same example as with the health benefits of cocoa, some are confused and have started to blog about how good chocolate is to lower cholesterol, well this is a big mistake, as with coffee not all chocolate types are adequate, what we are looking for as much cocoa as possible, and this is only given by dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (about 70% pure dark chocolate), all others will only increase your sugar levels and defeat the object.

  • May 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Has it been indicated if it’s only brewed coffee? How about those instants or cold coffee? I mean, does it matter how we take our coffee for it to be “effective”?

    • May 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Hi, I don’t think the study touches on the preparation of the coffee. It only notes the difference between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

  • May 23, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I am quite skeptical with both the negative and positive effects of a substance, such as caffeine, when the results come only from statistical measurements.
    I think these results are indicative that something is going on with coffee consumption but as we say in statistical analysis, correlation does not imply causation.

    So I will withhold my judgement until there is more scientific data on it and I won’t be starting to drink coffee again until I know more.

    Sometimes its easy to jump on a bandwagon of an indication that X, Y or Z substance is good for something just because we personally like that substance, we must always be objective :)

    • May 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

      Well, sure, caffeine is certainly not very good for others as those having high blood pressure, but for example having a regular intake of fruits rich in Pectin in male and female patients with breast and prostate cancer showed to be effective on fighting cancer cells migration.
      Additionally, there are studies that link certain habits as high-temperature cooking methods such as grilling and barbecuing with the occurrence of prostate cancer, maybe we all should change our habits, have more fruits and a rich diet and stop burning too much our food ;)

  • May 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    It is really confusing about coffee that coffee is beneficial or harmful for health. Few days ago yo published an article saying coffee increase risk of aneurysm rupture and nor coffee reduce prostate cancer risk.
    I think both are correct, but it makes things complicated and confusing, whether to drink coffee or not?

    • May 22, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Hi, the two articles can balance each other out, actually.

      The previous article states that coffee can increase the risk of aneurysm rupture because of the caffeine content.

      This one states that coffee can help reduce the risk of prostate caner whether it is caffeinated or decaffeinated.

      This means that the possible negative side effects of caffeine that previous studies have shown are still true, but that the rest of the compounds within coffee can be very beneficial for you.

      The balance, therefore, is decaf. If you wish to take in as much of the benefits of coffee as possible while taking in as little of the negatives, then decaf would be your logical choice.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Pingback: Does Coffee consumption lower the risk of prostate cancer? | The Cancer Site

  • May 22, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Another study on coffee and the risks associated to the intake of this one, performed by the Department of Gastroenterology of the Fudan University in Shanghai, shows that out of 59 studies found in different medical databases, the overall outcome was that an increase in consumption of one cup of coffee per day was associated with a 3% reduced risk of cancers.

  • May 22, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Very interesting that you post this particular article during the time I am doing research on prostate cancer myself. As I was sitting in the hospital waiting for my dad to get out of surgery this past Wednesday, the topic of conversation among my father’s friends waiting with me was the high amount of prostate cancer in the MEN they know. These men diagnosed or suffering from this type of cancer are mostly ministers or very strict Christians who just so happen to drink an awful lot of coffee- at least 6 or more cups per day. This is because they can’t or won’t drink anything else–meaning no beer, scotch, vodka or other alcoholic beverages. So meetings, gatherings, and all social events revolve around the coffee pot.

    It seems that everytime I turn around, another man is diagnosed with prostate cancer. I decided to dedicate some time to reasearching this. I need to know why so many men suffer and as a Wellness Consultant, what I can do to help prevent it. What can I do to help my own father (who gets up to pee at least 10 times a night and is already suffering from colorectal cancer) from developing this type of cancer as well? Note: he is also a big coffee drinker.

    Your article here is eye-opening and although it doesn’t seem to be working for these men I recently learned about, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I am certainly not here to argue.

    If drinking coffee does help prevent prostate cancer in some, I need to find out what else the guys I know of with prostate cancer are doing or not doing (I am thinking it has alot to do with the foods they are eating) that counteracts the good effects of the coffee.

    Thanks again for this article.

    Yours in Good Health,

    • May 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks very much for your compliments, Cynthia!

      Unfortunately, I don’t think I can add anything more that can help you in your quest to learn more about prostate cancer. It’s very unfortunate indeed that the benefits found in coffee weren’t effective enough in the people around you, and I wish you all the best in your quest to find out more about this dreadful disease.


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