Drinking coffee may help prevent liver cancer

Recent analysis of the data from 26 studies has discovered that people who consume a moderate amount of coffee are less likely to develop cancer of the liver. Interestingly, the drinking decaffeinated coffee also appeared to have a positive effect.

If you drink just two cups of coffee a day, your risk of developing heptocellular cancer (HCC) reduces by a over a third (35%) compared to those who drank no coffee at all. HCC (liver) cancer is the most common kind of primary cancer. According to Cancer Research, one in 105 men and one in 195 women will be diagnosed with liver cancer during their lifetime.

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Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Southampton gathered data from over 2.25 million participants over 26 studies to put together their findings, which were published in the BMJ Open journal.

Protective effect of coffee

The positive effects appeared to rise in proportion with the amount of coffee consumed. Compared with a base group who drank no coffee at all, people who drank just one cup a day had their risk of developing HCC lowered by 20%. Drinking two cups a day reduced the risk by 35%, and drinking five cups a day halved the risk. Although decaffeinated coffee did show positive results, the effect was “smaller and less certain than for caffeinated coffee”.

Dr Oliver Kennedy, one of the lead authors, who’s from the University of Southampton, said that coffee apparently has a number of health benefits, and that the latest research suggested it could have a significant effect on the risk of developing liver cancer. He pointed out that researchers weren’t advocating drinking five cups of coffee a day, though, as further investigation was required into the effects of a high caffeine intake and whether certain groups were more at risk that others. He went to on say: “Nevertheless, our findings are an important development given the increasing evidence of HCC globally and its poor prognosis.”

Professor Peter Hayes, also of the University of Edinburgh, added: “In moderation, coffee can be a wonderful natural medicine.”

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