Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy
Bob Dylan Talks!


Military and Veterans Discount


You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation


Introducing RealPad by AARP


AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App



Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!


AARP Games - Play Now!


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


Health Discovery

Coffee May Help Prevent Endometrial Cancer

Good news for women who drink 3 or more cups daily

En español | That cup of French roast might turn out to be more than just a tasty pick-me-up: Two new studies have found that women who drink several cups of coffee a day have a significantly lower risk of endometrial cancer.

In the first report, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health followed more than 67,000 women enrolled in the long-running Nurses' Health Study, which tracked their health and their coffee consumption, among other behaviors. The researchers published results in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter.

Drinking four or more cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in women.

Don't add too much sugar to your coffee or you could reduce the cancer protective benefits. — Photo by Getty Images

Women who drank four 8-ounce cups a day had a 25 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer than women who drank one cup or less, the study found. Endometrial cancer — cancer in the lining of the uterus — is the most common gynecological cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Some 46,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and 8,100 women will die from the disease. Most are diagnosed after the age of 50.

Scientists know that coffee reduces insulin and estrogen in the body, says Youjin Je, a nutritionist who led the Harvard study. "Since both high estrogen and high insulin have been associated with higher risk of endometrial cancer, we hypothesized that high coffee consumption may reduce the risk," she says.

The key finding of the second study was that women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day were 35 percent less likely to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer. This study followed 226,000 women enrolled in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study for an average of nine years. Researchers published their findings in the International Journal of Cancer.

Both studies found decaffeinated coffee also had a protective effect, though in the Harvard study the effect was weaker with decaf.

Cancer society epidemiologist Mia Gaudet, who took part in the NIH study, finds it "very reassuring" that the two studies had similar findings.

The Harvard study found no protective benefit from drinking tea, which, like coffee, contains caffeine, Je says. This suggests that other compounds in coffee, perhaps antioxidants, might play a role in lowering the cancer risk, she says. Prior research also has linked coffee consumption with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease (in men), liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and aggressive prostate cancer, Je says.

The authors warned that adding substantial amounts of sugar or cream could reduce the protective effect. These "can cause weight gain or insulin resistance that may offset the potential benefits of coffee consumption," Je says.

While stopping short of recommending that women consume more java specifically to prevent cancer, Gaudet says, "these research findings should be reassuring to women who enjoy drinking coffee."

Also of interest: Nasty side effects make women quit breast cancer drugs early. >>

Michael Haederle is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in People, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members get exclusive points offers from Walgreens, Duane Reade and

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.