Los Angeles, California, USA --- Man drinking coffee and reading book --- Image by © Blue Images/Corbis

Drinking several cups of coffee every day can significantly reduce the risk of bowel cancer, new research shows.

BLD068374Volunteers who downed four cups a day saw their risk of a tumour drop by about 15 percent. But those who got through six or more were up to 40 percent less likely to fall victim to the disease.

Tea lovers, however, did not see any reduction in risk, scientists said. More than 40,000 people a year in the US are diagnosed with bowel cancer.

The disease has a high mortality rate – around 16,000 a year – because many victims ignore the early warning signs and only seek medical help once cancer has advanced.