Researchers say coffee drinkers could halve risk of liver cancer

Coffee halves risk of cancer

A new study shows that coffee drinkers are 50 per cent less likely to develop the most common type of liver cancer - hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). 

Queen's University Belfast researchers studied the coffee-drinking habits of 471,779 participants in the United Kingdom over seven and a half years, making it one of the largest studies in the world. 

Over three quarters of the participants were coffee-drinkers. When compared to those who don't drink coffee, they were more likely to be previous or current smokers, consume higher levels of alcohol and have high cholesterol.

However, coffee-drinkers were less likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, cirrhosis, gallstones, and peptic ulcers, compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Taking all of this into account, researchers concluded that coffee drinkers were 50 per cent less likely to develop HCC compared with people who do not drink coffee.

They found the risk of developing HCC was just as low in participants who consumed mostly instant coffee.

Lead author Kim Tu Tran says the results suggest people should keep up coffee drinking, but keep in mind that other lifestyle choices strongly affect the risk of developing liver cancer.

“People with a coffee-drinking habit could find keeping that habit going is good for their health.  That is because coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine, which may protect against cancer. However, drinking coffee is not as protective against liver cancer as stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol or losing weight.”

The research team also investigated other digestive cancers including bowel and stomach, but did not find any correlation between the cancer and consumption of coffee. 

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