Drink Coffee to Decrease Risk of Death from Oral Cancer

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While a host of Americans enjoy a daily cup of joe for it’s more obvious benefit, the caffeine, a recent study found that the benefits may extend beyond staying awake through early winter mornings. The American Journal of Epidemiology published findings that drinking over four cups of coffee daily is associated with cutting a person’s risk of dying from oral and pharyngeal cancers up to fifty percent. More research is required to determine exactly how and why this association occurs. However, researchers tentatively believe that the antioxidants, polyphenols, or biologically active compounds found in the beverage may prevent cancers from developing in the first place, or decrease the speed of their advancement after initial occurrence. Other researchers believe the protective reaction is from the caffeine.

The study gathered data from a sample of 968,432 people enrolled for 26 years in the Cancer Prevention Study II. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had cancer, and at the end of the 26 years, 868 people were deceased from oral or pharyngeal cancer. Drinking more coffee decreased risk of developing the cancers more. Participants who drank four cups had a 49% lower risk of developing the cancer than those who drank no coffee, but the benefits were visible even for those who drank one cup of coffee daily. Risk decreased with every cup daily of intake. A slightly similar association was found with decaffeinated coffee, and no link was found with tea consumption and cancer risk. The results of this research are echoed by a 2010 study by the University of Milan. While these cancers are not as common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer are among the top ten cancers in the world. These findings may be among the first steps to decreasing their incidence.

Source courtesy of The Huffington Post. Image courtesy of Penn Foster.

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