Coffee May Decrease Risk Of Skin Cancer
Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop basal cell skin cancers and malignant melanoma, and their risk decreases with every cup they drink. Coffee has long been associated with a reduction in the risk of various cancers however the current study is the first to show a reduction in the risk of melanoma.
In a study run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and AARP a food questionnaire was sent to 3.5 million AARP members living in California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Atlanta and Detroit.
According to findings of the study which were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who drank the most coffee every day enjoyed a lower risk of melanoma, compared with those who drank little to no coffee.
People who drank one to three cups a day had about a 10 percent decreased risk of melanoma compared with those who drank none at all, while those who drank four or more cups had a 20 percent decreased risk.
It is important to understand that the study only uncovered an association between coffee consumption and the risk of developing melanoma risk it doesnt prove a true cause and effect relationship but is certainly intriguing.
Some previous research has shown that coffee drinking may be protective against other skin cancer, apparently by mitigating the damage to skin cells caused by the suns ultraviolet rays.
Busting Myths: Can Coffee Cause Cure Or Prevent Cancer
Coffee and cancer have had a rocky relationship over the years. Coffee was once recklessly touted as a cancer treatment and later declared a carcinogen. Today, new studies indicate it may help prevent certain types of cancer. And recently, a California judge stirred controversy by ruling that a health warning should be attached to coffee sold in that state. So, what are the myths and realities when it comes to coffee and cancer?
Can coffee increase the risk of cancer?
There is no clear evidence linking coffee consumption and increased risk of cancer, says Anthony Perre, MD, Chief of the Division of Outpatient Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® and an Internist at our Philadelphia hospital. In fact, the World Health Organization removed coffee from its list of carcinogens in 2016. WHO added coffee to its list of risk factors more than 25 years ago, but reversed course after more recent studies found no evidence that coffee increased cancer risk. A study published in 2017 showed that drinking two cups of coffee a day may lower the risk for several cancer types, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and head and neck cancers, Dr. Perre says. There are probably a number of factors that may contribute to the reduced risk. The bottom line is theres no overwhelming evidence that coffee can cause or help prevent cancer.
Why is coffee considered a carcinogen in California?
Coffee And Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common and lethal cancer in women in Europe4. Research to date has shown no conclusive association between coffee consumption and risk of ovarian cancer83-85. The WCRF 2018 Ovarian Cancer Report lists coffee under âLimited Evidence â No Conclusionâ86, and IARCâs 2016 review also concluded that there is inadequate evidence to suggest an association between coffee consumption and ovarian cancer1.
- 2012 â a meta-analysis based on data from all women taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition also concluded that the studies reviewed by the authors do not provide sufficient research to support an association between coffee and tea consumption and risk of ovarian cancer83.
- 2019 â a dose response meta-analysis found no association between the risk of ovarian cancer and coffee consumption and caffeine intake84.
- 2019 â a further systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that there was no association between total caffeine intake and ovarian cancer risk. However, the authors did find an inverse association between decaffeinated coffee consumption and the risk of ovarian cancer85.
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Drinks That Fight Cancer
What can you drink to prevent cancer? According to the latest research findings, beverages that should be included in a cancer-fighting diet include:
While the caffeine is coffee isnt well-tolerated by some people, nutrition-rich coffee is also a concentrated source of antioxidant phytochemicals. These include theophylline and theobromine, chlorogenic acid , quinic acid, cafestol and kahweol.
Certain studies have linked coffee consumption with reduced risk of liver, colorectal, endometrial, oral/pharyngeal and other cancers.
And although some worry about the negative effects of caffeine/coffee on digestive health, theres overall no evidence suggesting an association of coffee intake with cancers of the stomach, pancreas or GI cancers.
2. Green, Black and White Teas
Black, green, white and also oolong teas are rich in many disease-fighting nutrients, such as catechins, polyphenol compounds, epigallocatechin gallate , flavonols and more. Researchers believe this to be the reason that long-term tea consumption is linked with lower risks for bladder, stomach and pancreatic cancers, among other types.
Matcha green tea is another great option, since its rich in antioxidants that give it the ability to support the immune system. Lab studies have linked both types of green teas with reduced development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, lung and prostate cells.
3. 100 Percent Vegetable Juices
4. 100 Percent Fruit Juices
5. Herbal Teas and Infusions
6. Red Wine
Should People Drink Less Coffee
Current US dietary guidelines state that moderate coffee intake, providing up to 400 mg/day of caffeine, can be part of a healthy diet in adults. Australia and New Zealand guidelines also state a maximum daily limit of 400 mg caffeine for adults .
Caffeine content varies according to the type of coffee beverage for example, a 250-mL cup of instant coffee contains around 80 mg of caffeine whereas a 30-mL single shot of espresso contains around 100 mg. The amount of caffeine in a single espresso shot may also vary: US guidelines estimate 64 mg/30 mL, whereas an Australian study measured 126 mg/30 mL.12, 14, 15 Therefore when estimating caffeine intake, it is important to use reliable, country-specific guidelines for different coffee beverages.
From a health perspective it is also relevant to consider the calorie content of your preferred brew, particularly if you like to use whole milk, cream, and/or added sugar.
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Coffee Consumption And Associations With Tumor And Patient Characteristics
Associations between coffee consumption and tumor and patient characteristics among all patients are presented in Table 1, as well as for patients stratified by BMI in Table 2. Coffee consumption was categorized into low , moderate , and high . Patients with higher coffee consumption had significantly lower tumor IGF1R levels compared with patients with lower coffee consumption . This was, however, only observed among the normal-weight patients after stratification according to BMI. As previously reported , patients with higher coffee consumption had smaller tumors , although this was limited to overweight or obese patients . There was a borderline negative trend between coffee intake and ER positivity. There were significant positive trends between smoking and coffee consumption both among normal-weight and overweight or obese patients . Among overweight or obese patients, HER2 status was associated with coffee consumption . Age, BMI, and smoking were not associated with IGF1R levels in the present cohort .
Table 1. Tumor and patient characteristics of 1.014 patients in relation to daily coffee consumption .
Table 2. Selected tumor and patient characteristics of 986 patients stratified by body mass index in relation to daily coffee consumption .
If You Already Have Cancer
What is good for cancer patients to drink? Doctors recommend these health-boosting beverages, which can help with hydration and provide key nutrients:
- Water. Some cancer treatments may make plain water taste unappealing in this case, drink more water thats flavored including mineral water, seltzer or water with lemon or other fruit.
- 100% fruit or vegetable juices, which can help prevent dehydration, plus provide electrolytes and antioxidants.
- Coconut water or milk, a hydrating beverage with medium-chain triglycerides, a type of beneficial fatty acid that can help support gut health. Coconut milk also contains some bacteria-fighting, antioxidant properties that support the immune system.
- Herbal teas such as ginger tea or peppermint teas, which can help with nausea and other symptoms caused by treatments.
- Kefir and organic milk , which provide many important vitamins and minerals, plus probiotics if fermented.
- Bone broth, a unique source of difficult-to-get amino acids, collagen, trace minerals and electrolytes.
If lack of appetite is an issue, try drinking most liquids at least a half-hour before or after meals to keep from feeling too full.
Keep in mind that caffeine, sugary drinks and even sometimes fruit juices my lead to indigestion, so it might be necessary to limit these if diarrhea or nausea occur.
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Can Caffeine Affect Breast Cancer Outcomes
A 2021 study suggests coffee may improve breast cancer survival, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. People drinking more than three cups of coffee a day had a 25% lower risk of dying from breast cancer compared with those who abstained from coffee.
People drinking three cups of tea daily after a breast cancer diagnosis had a 26% lower risk of dying from any cause compared with people who did not drink tea.
Other factors included breast cancer treatment, body mass index , and physical activity.
What Does This Mean For Me
If you are a breast cancer survivor, this study suggests that drinking coffee will not increase your chance of dying of breast cancer and may improve your chance of breast cancer-related survival. Individuals who drank more than three cups of coffee daily had the best survival. However, decreasing your coffee consumption after diagnosis to less than what it was before diagnosis may decrease your chance of breast cancer-related survival. Drinking tea may increase your overall survival, but this study found that it has little effect on breast cancer-specific survival.
Ask your healthcare provider whether drinking coffee or tea is okay for your situation and health history. Some people need to avoid caffeine from coffee, tea or other sources for other medical reasons.
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What Evidence From Human Studies Links Tea To Cancer Prevention
Tea has long been regarded as an aid to good health, and many believe it can help reduce the risk of cancer. Most studies of tea and cancer prevention have focused on green tea . Although tea and/or tea polyphenols have been found in animal studies to inhibit tumorigenesis at different organ sites, including the skin, lung, oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, pancreas, and mammary gland , the results of human studiesboth epidemiologic and clinical studieshave been inconclusive.
More than 50 epidemiologic studies of the association between tea consumption and cancer risk have been published since 2006. The results of these studies have often been inconsistent, but some have linked tea consumption to reduced risks of cancers of the colon, breast, ovary, prostate, and lung . The inconsistent results may be due to variables such as differences in tea preparation and consumption, the types of tea studied , the methods of tea production, the bioavailability of tea compounds, genetic variation in how people respond to tea consumption, the concomitant use of tobacco and alcohol, and other lifestyle factors that may influence a persons risk of developing cancer, such as physical activity or weight status.
Several clinical trials have investigated the role of tea and tea polyphenols in cancer prevention . However, few trials have examined the effects of tea or tea polyphenols on cancer incidence or mortality.
How Might Coffee Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
The exact mechanism behind how coffee may reduce the risk of cancer is unclear, and there are several different theories.
But at the moment these are just theories well need more research to understand whether and how coffee could affect cancer growth and development.
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Identification Of Breast Cancer Cases
In each biennial questionnaire, participants were asked whether they had been diagnosed as having breast cancer in the previous two years, and we attempted to interview nonrespondents by telephone. The response rates were approximately 90 percent for each questionnaire. Deaths were identified by a report from a family member, the postal service or the National Death Index. When a case of breast cancer was reported, we asked the participant for permission to obtain medical records. Since self-reports have been confirmed by pathology reports in 98% of instances, we included the few-self reported cases for whom we could not obtain medical records in the analysis. Pathology reports were also reviewed to obtain information on estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status. 74 percent of the cases had receptor status information . Cases of carcinoma in situ were not included in the analysis.
Risks And Side Effects
Just like there are some beverages and foods that can help to fight disease development, research tells us there are also potentially cancer-causing foods to avoid.
Which drinks should you limit or ideally cut out from your diet?
- Sugary drinks, including soda, energy drinks and juices, teas and coffee drinks with added sugar. Research has revealed a strong link between sugary drink consumption and risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and now ongoing research is suggesting that these beverages can also put you at greater risk for certain cancers such as breast, pancreas, gallbladder and endometrial cancer. Its believed this connection is due to mechanisms such as insulin resistance caused by consumption of a high glycemic load, as well as the effects of chemical compounds, additives and pesticides in sugary drinks which may have carcinogenic effects.
- Alcohol in excess. While wine in moderation have protective effects against certain diseases, too much seems to do the opposite. High alcohol intake increases the risk of certain types of cancer development according to research studies, including colon/rectum, oral, liver, breast and other cancers.
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Caffeine And Breast Cancer Risk
Caffeine consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer in a few studies, though the results have been inconsistent. Furthermore, more research is needed into the reason for the possible link, as well as the ideal timing and amount of caffeine that could potentially have any effect on breast cancer.
One group of researchers in Italy examined 21 studies on this subject but were unable to find a relationship between caffeine consumption and the risk of breast cancer. However, when they looked at a small subset of the data, they discovered that drinking four cups of coffee per day was associated with a 10% reduction in postmenopausal cancer risk.
A Swedish study echoed this sentiment, noting that coffee consumption could decrease breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. In this study, women who consumed three to four cups of coffee per day had a slightly lower rate of breast cancer than women who consumed two cups of coffee per day or less. And women who consumed five or more cups of coffee per day had an even lower rate of breast cancer.
Researchers who conducted a large multinational trial also suggested that a higher intake of caffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
What Does The Research Show About The Link Between Coffee And Cancer
The IARC reviewed the potential link between coffee drinking and cancer risk in 1991 using a limited number of studies.7 In 2016 this potential link was re-evaluated, this time by reviewing over 1000 studies in humans and animals. The IARC concluded at this re-evaluation that current evidence indicates that drinking coffee does not increase the risk of pancreatic, prostate, or breast cancer and that it may reduce the risk of liver and uterine endometrial cancers.
Early evaluations of the association between coffee drinking and cancer risk mainly focused on bladder cancer, with a higher risk suggested among coffee drinkers based on limited studies in humans.7, 9 A more recent study observed an increased risk of bladder cancer among individuals who drank large amounts of coffee , both overall and when the comparison was limited to people who had never smoked.10 However, the most recent and large analysis from the IARC found no consistent evidence of an association between coffee drinking and bladder cancer.7
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Coffee And Cancer: What The Research Really Shows
Researchers have been investigating the links between coffee and cancer for decades. But there is still a lot they dont know. In 2016, an expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer the arm of the World Health Organization that is responsible for assessing whether certain substances cause cancer could not conclude that drinking coffee is carcinogenic based on the current evidence available.
And now the coffee-cancer connection is in the news again. A California court ruling last week about a coffee warning related to a chemical formed during the roasting process has raised questions among consumers.
So, what do coffee drinkers need to know? In this interview, American Cancer Society researchers, Susan Gapstur, PhD, and , ScD, provide insights into what studies to date really show when it comes to coffee and cancer, and discuss what other research is still needed.
Q. What does the research show about the link between coffee and cancer?
A. Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes of death. However, associations with cancer overall or with specific types of cancer are unclear. In 2016, an expert working group convened for the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs Programme reviewed the worlds body of human and laboratory research on coffee drinking and cancer risk, and they found the evidence of carcinogenicity of coffee drinking to be unclassifiable.