Coffee Could Cut Liver Cancer Risk in Half

Coffee Could Cut Liver Cancer Risk in Half
A. Scattergood

Drinking coffee reduces your risk of the most common type of liver cancer by about 40 percent, according to a new study.

Some of the data indicates that three cups of coffee a day could cut your risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by more than 50 percent, Bioscience Technology reports. (Men are about three times more likely to develop this cancer than women.)

"Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health, and particularly the liver," said Carlo La Vecchia, study author from the department of epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri," and department of clinical sciences and community health, Università degli Studi di Milan, Italy. "The favorable effect of coffee on liver cancer might be mediated by coffee's proven prevention of diabetes, a known risk factor for the disease, or for its beneficial effects on cirrhosis and liver enzymes."

See also: 10 Best Coffee Shops in Los Angeles

The Italian researchers performed a meta-analysis of articles published from 1996 through September 2012, examining 16 high-quality studies and a total of 3,153 cases. Their findings were published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Primary liver cancers are largely avoidable through hepatitis B virus vaccination, control of hepatitis C virus transmission and reduction of alcohol drinking. These three factors are responsible for more than 90 percent of primary liver cancers worldwide. Chronic infections with hepatitis B and C viruses are the main causes of liver cancer; other relevant risk factors include alcohol and tobacco use, obesity and diabetes.

Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, and the third most common cause of cancer death (it's the ninth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control). HCC is the main type of liver cancer, accounting for more than 90 percent of cases worldwide.

So if you drink your coffee in the form of Irish coffees, or with a side of giant chocolate cupcake, it's probably a wash.

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