Scientists from Queen’s University found that drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of common liver cancer.
Although early studies of coffee suggested that it could lead to health problems, recent research provides strong evidence that drinking coffee actually has a variety of health benefits.
According to Harvard researchers, moderate coffee intake—about 2–5 cups a day—is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.
It’s even possible that people who drink coffee can reduce their risk of early death.
Previous research has found drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of liver cancer, but the associations for other digestive cancers are unclear.
In addition, few studies have examined coffee types (specifically instant or ground coffee) or a range of digestive cancer types.
In the study, researchers aimed to test the effect of coffee drinking by type on digestive cancer risks.
They used data from the UK Biobank, including self-reported coffee drinking and recording of digestive cancers.
UK Biobank is a large long-term biobank study in the United Kingdom that is investigating the respective contributions of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of disease. It began in 2006.
The team examined the risk of every type of digestive cancer in association with coffee drinking by the amount and by coffee type (decaffeinated, instant, and ground).
They found over 7.5 years of follow-up, 3567 people developed digestive cancer among 471,779 participants.
There were 88 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma and a link was found between the disease in coffee drinkers.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer. It occurs most often in people with chronic liver diseases.
The team found people who drank coffee, instant or ground, showed a lower risk of liver cancer.
They did not find consistently reduced risks of other digestive cancers amongst coffee drinkers.
Based on the findings, the team says that the study provides some evidence that coffee drinking was linked to lower common liver cancer which was similar to coffee type.
One limitation of the study is that coffee drinking could have changed over time, so misclassification of coffee drinking is possible.
In addition, there were small numbers of cases of certain cancers in the study, and therefore for these cancers, the study would have limited power to detect associations with coffee drinking.
The research is published in the British Journal of Cancer and was conducted by Dr. Úna McMenamin et al.
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