Coffee reduces liver cancer risk for heavy drinkers

Coffee reduces liver cancer risk for heavy drinkers

People who drink three or more alcoholic beverages per day could be increasing their chances of developing liver cancer.

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But drinking coffee could lower a person's odds for liver cancer, even among heavy drinkers, according to a new report from the World Cancer Research Fund.

The study sought to determine how weight, diet, and physical activity affected the risk of liver cancer. Researchers analyzed data from 34 studies worldwide that involved 8.2. million participants, 24,500 of whom had been diagnosed with the disease.

In addition to the increased risk associated with having three or more alcoholic drinks a day, being overweight or obese also increased a person's risk of developing liver cancer. According to the researchers, the findings increase the number of cancers linked to being overweight or obese to 10.

The researchers also found that foods contaminated by aflatoxins -- toxins produced by fungi that often result from improper food storage -- can also increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Peanuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, chili peppers, cereals, and dried fruits and figs may be affected by aflatoxins.

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The team said further research is needed to establish how much and what kind of coffee should be consumed. They also recommend limiting the number of alcoholic drinks to two per day for men and one per day for women.

A 2013 study conducted by Italian researchers found that drinking a cup of coffee may reduce the risk of liver cancer by about 40 percent, while drinking three cups a day could reduce the risk by more than 50 percent.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 35,660 new cases of liver cancer and intrahepatic bile duct cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015. About 24,550 will die of those cancers. Men are more at risk for liver cancer than women, and the average age of diagnosis is 63.

Liver cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide.

Previous studies have found that three to four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by 18 percent.

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