Coffee can fight colon cancer... maybe

Good news, coffee lovers -- your drink of choice can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancers.

Ready for the bad news? You need to drink a LOT of this stuff to get the benefits.

A new look at data on roughly half a million people finds that four cups of coffee a day can cut the risk of colorectal cancers by about 15 percent, while six cups or more can slash the risk by nearly a quarter.

There were smaller benefits for decaf, and no benefits at all for tea drinkers, according to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

There's nothing wrong with a moderate coffee habit, and it seems clear from a number of studies that it can in fact have a few health benefits. But six cups a day? Sounds like a lot of coffee to me -- and a lot of coffee can come with problems as well.

The biggest problem, of course, is from all that caffeine. Coffee is loaded with the stuff, of course, and too much of it can cause problems in some people, including heart palpitations, high blood pressure, anxiety, and nerve conditions -- especially in people who are sensitive to it.

Besides, there are much better ways to ensure you don't suffer from colorectal cancers.

Start with eating better, since fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of the disease while processed foods can increase that risk.

Then, make sure you get scoped. If you're past the age of 50 and haven't had a colonoscopy yet, don't be shy -- make that call today and schedule yours.

We'll need more research before anyone can say for sure whether coffee really can help keep colorectal cancers away. But we don't need more studies to know that colonoscopies really can save your life.