Yes, coffee is really linked to cancer but in a good way. Where previous studies recommend us to not drink coffee daily because it could increase the threat of cancer, the latest studies show that previous studies had some contradictions and misconceptions. The good news for coffee drinkers is that drinking this drink regularly has been linked to a reduced risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a form of liver cancer. Even one cup of coffee a day reduces the likelihood of getting sick by about 20%, according to a new study. In addition, scientists were able to establish that the described effect (although to a lesser extent) is observed even in those who drink decaf coffee.
An extensive research
The presence of coffee in the cancer diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing HCC, even in those already at risk of any chronic liver disease. Scientists came to this conclusion after analyzing the results of 26 observational studies, which involved a total of 2.25 million adults. In preparing the meta-analysis, the researchers paid attention to the amount of coffee consumed by volunteers and the presence of caffeine in the drink.
It found that just one cup of regular (caffeinated) coffee a day was associated with a 20% reduction in the risk of developing HCC, and two cups a day with a 35% reduction. Those who drank three to five cups of coffee daily suffered from HCC half as often as those who did not drink coffee regularly.
The right amount of coffee a day
The health benefits of coffee are believed to be diverse, and recent discoveries indicate that coffee may also be associated with a reduced likelihood of liver cancer. We are not saying that everyone should immediately start drinking 5 cups of coffee a day. More research is needed focusing on the possible dangers of consuming large amounts of caffeine. In addition, an excess of coffee in the diet should be avoided by members of certain groups, for example, pregnant women. However, the results of our work may be important in the context of the fact that HCC is a disease with increasing prevalence and poor prognosis.
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer compounds that makeup coffee could explain the discovered relationship between the consumption of this drink and a decrease in the risk of liver cancer. “Apparently, one of the key roles in ensuring this effect is played by caffeine, which is why people who prefer decaffeinated coffee were less likely to have a lower risk.
Research is still working on
It should be understood, however, that the studies included in the meta-analysis were observational, which means that neither their authors nor the reviewers had the opportunity to establish causal relationships. Coffee linked to cancer is beneficial for reducing the risk of cancer. Perhaps people who do not have an HCC predisposition simply prefer to drink more coffee. Or, conversely, those who have such a predisposition do not feel well after 1-2 cups. Therefore, so far we are talking only about the relationship between two phenomena – high coffee consumption and a relatively low risk of developing HCC. More research with a different design is needed to find out if one factor is the cause of the other.