Coffee lovers still need colonoscopies

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It wouldn't be a complete month without a study (or two) on coffee. The latest study, just published in the American Journal of Clincical Nutrition, suggests that regular coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of colon cancer.

In order to investigate this possibility, researchers from the National Cancer Institute assessed the diets, habits, and general health of over half a million Americans over the course of 15 years. The researchers found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 15 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those who drank no coffee at all. The link even seems to be dose-responsive. That is, the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk. And whatever the compound in coffee responsible for this ostensible perk, it's not caffeine: The effect held whether the coffee drinkers preferred decaf or regular.

"But don't go skipping your colonoscopy," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. As he points out, an observational study is questionable to begin with. And, he adds, An observational study that shows only a 15 percent benefit isn't worth much.