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February 19, 1982

Coffee and Cancer of the Pancreas

JAMA. 1982;247(7):979-980. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320320019018

To the Editor.—  Feinstein et al (1981;246:957) question the recently reported association between coffee drinking and pancreatic cancer.1 In particular, they suggest that the controls included persons with gastrointestinal disease for which coffee drinking may have been previously reduced or eliminated, thus leading to a false-positive association between pancreatic cancer and coffee drinking.There is another source of data about coffee-drinking habits in our country.2 For the past 30 years the International Coffee Association has conducted an annual survey of some 7,500 persons older than 10 years to ascertain their coffee-drinking habits. For 1977, the midpoint of study by MacMahon et al, the age-adjusted estimate of the percentage of coffee drinkers in our population between the ages of 45 and 79 years (the most prevalent age groups for pancreatic cancer) was 82%. This is actually lower than the percentage of coffee drinkers in the control subjects reported