Coffee consumption linked to lower risk of endometrial cancer

Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce women’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, according to a new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study.The study of 67,500 Nurses’ Health Study participants showed that the women aged 34 to 59, who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day over 26 years, reduced their risk for cancer originating in the uterus lining by 25%, compared with those who drank less than one cup per day. Women who consumed less coffee or who drank tea did not appear to have the same benefit. The study is believed to be the largest study to date exploring the effects of coffee and tea on endometrial cancer risk.

Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH and senior author, told Time Magazine, despite the study findings, “It’s premature to recommend that women take up coffee to reduce their risk of endometrial cancer.” Instead women should manage their weight through diet and exercise, which is known to reduce endometrial cancer risk. Youjin Je, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, was lead author of the study.

The study,  “A Prospective Cohort Study of Coffee Consumption and Risk of Endometrial Cancer over a 26-Year Follow-Up,” was published online November 22, 2011, in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Other HSPH authors included Susan Hankinson, adjunct professor of epidemiology, Shelley Tworoger, assistant professor in epidemiology, and Immaculata DeVivo, associate professor in epidemiology.

Read the Time Magazine story

Read coverage in USA Today

Learn more

Coffee May Reduce Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer in Men (HSPH press release)

Drinking Coffee May Decrease Depression Risk in Women (HSPH in the News)

Ask the Expert: Coffee and Health (HSPH’s The Nutrition Source)