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'Coffee may help beat bowel cancer', research shows

Regular cups of coffee can increase the chances of surviving bowel cancer, research has shown.

A study of nearly 1,000 treated patients found that those who consumed four or more cups of coffee a day were 42% less likely to see their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers.

They were also 33% less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.

The effect of coffee was dose responsive, increasing as more of the beverage was consumed. Two to three cups a day produced a more modest benefit, while one cup or less offered little protection.

Lead scientist Dr Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Centre at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US, said: "We found that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of the cancer coming back and a significantly greater survival and chance of a cure."

All the patients had stage III bowel cancer, meaning the disease had spread as far as the lymph nodes near the original tumour.

Under normal circumstances, such patients had a 35% chance of cancer recurrence after surgery and chemo, said Dr Fuchs.

Despite the results, he was cautious about recommending coffee as an alternative treatment for people with bowel cancer.

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