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Last week, a study indicated that coffee can help protect some women from a particular type of breast cancer. And this week, a new study suggests men may also have a good reason to guzzle java.

By examining the coffee-drinking habits of 48,000 men over 20 years, U.S. researchers found that men who drank six or more eight-ounce cups of coffee a day had an 18-per-cent-lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer, compared to men who didn't drink any coffee. The protection was greatest for lethal forms of prostate cancer, with a risk reduction of 60 per cent for men who drank the most coffee, compared to those who never touched a drop.

The results, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, apply to both regular and decaffeinated coffee.

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"Coffee contains lots of antioxidants, which may fight cancer," the lead researcher, Kathryn Wilson of Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in an e-mail. "But," she added, "there are many, many compounds in coffee, so it could be another mechanism, or combination of mechanisms."

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