Drinking four cups of caffeinated coffee a day slashes mouth and throat cancer risk by 50%, even if people drink alcohol and smoke, according to CBS News.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta said the effect may not be due to caffeine but to the hundreds of natural antioxidants found in java.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers,” lead sudy author Janet Hildebrand said in a press release. “Although it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in the world. Our finding strengthens the evidence of a possible protective effect of caffeinated coffee in the etiology and/or progression of cancers of the mouth and pharynx.”

She adds that coffee could potentially be used as a mouth cancer treatment: “It may be of considerable interest to investigate whether coffee consumption can lead to a better prognosis after oral/pharyngeal cancer diagnosis.”

The association held true regardless of how often the person drank alcohol or smoked.

The results validate a previous study done two years ago by another set of researchers, who claimed that four cups of coffee daily lowered cancer risk by 39%.

The most recent findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology on December 9.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 40,250 men and women will be diagnosed with cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx in the U.S. in 2012. Approximately 7,850 people will die from the disease.

Coffee consumption has already been linked to reducing the chances of getting bowel cancer, stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

However, drinking too much may increase heart rate and blood pressure, and make you really hyper and annoying to co-workers.

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