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Coffee, tea may lower cancer risk

December 31, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

Coffee and tea lovers may have a slightly reduced risk of developing kidney cancer, according to research. The findings, based on an analysis of 13 previous studies, suggest that coffee and tea may be protective against kidney cancer; milk, soda and juice seem to have no effect either way.

Across the studies, people who drank three or more cups of coffee a day were 16% less likely to develop kidney cancer than those who averaged less than a cup per day. And those who sipped just one 8-ounce cup of tea each day had a 15% lower risk of the disease than nondrinkers. The findings appear in the International Journal of Cancer.

Although the study cannot show that coffee or tea directly lower kidney cancer risk, there are reasons why the beverages could be beneficial, according to the researchers, who were led by Jung Eun Lee of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

For example, coffee and tea may increase the body's sensitivity to the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin, and researchers suspect that insulin levels over time may affect kidney cancer risk. Coffee and tea also contain antioxidant compounds that may help protect cells in the kidney from cancer-promoting damage, the researchers say.

The investigators combined the results of 13 long-term studies that included a total of 530,469 women and 244,483 men. Each study collected information on participants' diets at the outset and then followed them for seven to 20 years.

Coffee and tea consumption was linked to a lower risk of kidney cancer even when the researchers accounted for a number of factors known to affect people's risk of the disease, such as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

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