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Four Cups of Coffee a Day May Protect You from One of the Top 10 Cancers

Tim Boyer's picture
Coffee and Cancer Protection

According to the results of the Cancer Prevention Study II—a prospective U.S. cohort study that began in 1982 sponsored by the American Cancer Society , consuming more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day is associated with a 49% lowered risk of developing oral/pharyngeal cancer-related death relative to a none or just occasional coffee drinking habit.

Oral/pharyngeal cancer is a malignant cell disease of the tissues that includes everything in the mouth from the soft palate, the tonsils, the walls of the pharynx, and the base of the tongue down to the middle region of the throat. This cancer is typically divided into two types categorized as HPV-positive from the human papillomavirus and HPV-negative, which may be due to tobacco/alcohol use or from undefined causes such as a chance mutation.

Basically, oral/pharyngeal cancer like many other cancers is uncontrolled cell growth that results in the development of an invasive tumor. In spite of the fact that some oral/pharyngeal cancers can be attributed to DNA damage from patients with a history of using tobacco products and drinking alcohol, many cases are of unknown origin and attributed to a disruption of cellular control via the genes that promote cell division that are called “oncogenes” and their counterpart genes that slows down cell division that are called “tumor suppressor genes.”

American men are more likely than American women to develop an oral/pharyngeal cancer. For men, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the top 10 that lists in order from the most common to least common to include cancers of the prostate, lung, colon and rectum, and bladder; melanomas of the skin; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; kidney cancer, mouth and throat cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.

In women, the 10 most commonly diagnosed cancers in order of occurrence include cancers of the breast, lung, colon and rectum, uterus, and thyroid; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; melanomas of the skin; and cancers of the ovary, kidney, and pancreas.

According to a press release by the American Cancer Society, earlier research results had suggested that drinking coffee reduces the risk of developing oral/pharyngeal cancer. As a follow-up to that initial finding, data from a new study that included 968,432 men and women who were cancer-free at time of enrollment in the study in 1982, was mined to determine whether there is a continued inverse association observed between drinking coffee and developing oral/pharyngeal cancer.

What the researchers found was that during the 26 years following the beginning of the study, 868 deaths out of the 968,432 participants were attributable to oral/pharyngeal cancer and that drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day is associated with a 49% reduced risk of developing oral/pharyngeal cancer relative to those in the study who did not drink coffee or only drank it occasionally.

Furthermore, the association was strengthened by the finding that a dose-related decline in relative risk was observed with each single cup per day consumed. Results also show that there may also be some association with drinking decaffeinated coffee; however, the association was statistically less significant in comparison, and tea drinking showed no such associated benefit.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers,” said lead author Janet Hildebrand, MPH. “Although it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the ten most common cancers in the world. Our finding strengthens the evidence of a possible protective effect of caffeinated coffee in the etiology and/or progression of cancers of the mouth and pharynx. It may be of considerable interest to investigate whether coffee consumption can lead to a better prognosis after oral/pharyngeal cancer diagnosis.”

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For additional articles about the reported benefits of drinking coffee with good health, follow the links titled below:

“Coffee Drinkers Outliving Non-Coffee Drinkers, Study Suggests”

“Coffee might drop prostate cancer risk and more is better”

“Reduce uterine cancer risk—drink coffee”

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile


Article: “Coffee, Tea, and Fatal Oral/Pharyngeal Cancer in a Large Prospective U.S. Cohort” American Journal of Epidemiology (2012); first published online: December 9, 2012; J.S. Hildebrand et al.

American Cancer Society press release

CDC Data and Statistics: Top 10 Cancers Among Men

CDC Data and Statistics: Top 10 Cancers Among Women



Skip the milk, sugar and biscuit! They seem to be cancer causing agents!