Brew up a pot of colon cancer protection

Research widely links consumption of coffee to a lower colon cancer risk. And now, a new study from Japan analyzed the risk of colon cancer according to the different parts of the colon.

This study tells me that the benefits of coffee consumption to prevent colon cancer are so well-established that researchers now parse subsets of different segments of the colon to justify more research.

Indeed, the three different parts of the colon do have somewhat different biological characteristics and functions in the GI system.

The first portion is the ascending colon, which runs up the right side of the abdominal cavity. The appendix is located at the base of the ascending colon in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen.

The second portion is the transverse colon, which runs across the top of the abdominal cavity.

The third portion is the descending colon, which runs down the left side. (In a harmless anatomical variant called “situs inversus,” the positions are reversed in the abdominal cavity.) The descending bowl leads to the sigmoid (S-shaped) colon, rectum and anus.

The different portions of the small bowel have specialized functions for digestion and absorption of nutrients into the portal blood circulation, which leads to the liver. The large bowel, or colon, is primarily responsible for absorbing water from the feces back into the blood. It also houses the all-important microbiome of probiotic bacteria, which form key parts of metabolism.

In the new study, researchers queried participants about their coffee consumption. Among this group, there were 2,696 cases of colon cancer, and 13,480 matched participants who did not develop colon cancer.

Overall, those who drank one to two cups per day had 10 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared to non-coffee drinkers. Those who drank three cups or more per day had a 22 percent lower risk compared to non-coffee drinkers.

The linear trend for lower cancer risk was greatest in the descending colon and rectum, but the protective benefits of coffee consumption were evident throughout the colon.

As you know, I have long recommended drinking three to four cups of coffee per day to prevent cancer, dementia and heart disease. Coffee beans are potent natural plant constituents with many concentrated antioxidants and other compounds besides the caffeine.

I guess medical researchers are finally waking up and smelling the coffee.


“Coffee consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer by anatomical subsite in Japan,” Int J Cancer, 2017