Coffee and Cancer

Coffee’s possible link to cancer is well-reviewed, with over 1,000 studies on the topic. In June 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization, released their latest study on coffee and cancer, and coffee is no longer classified as a carcinogen. Numerous studies, including the new IARC review, suggest that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing many cancers, including liver cancer and endometrial cancer.

When confounding factors such as smoking are controlled for, the overwhelming scientific evidence shows that moderate coffee consumption (four to five cups per day) does not increase the risk of cancer at any of the sites studied, including cancer of the breast, kidney, bladder, pancreas, ovaries, colon and rectum. A recent study published in 2015 found that individuals being treated with stage III colon cancer who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 42% less likely to see their cancer return and were 33% less likely to die from cancer.

Research suggests that moderate coffee consumption may have a positive effect on limiting disease progression in those with liver cirrhosis, chronic liver disease, fatty liver disease, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Society states that drinking coffee may help protect against uterine cancer. And there is significant evidence showing that there is no association between coffee and pancreatic cancer.

The National Coffee Association (NCA) commissioned a compilation and review of all cancer-related coffee research dating to the early 1990’s. The overwhelming body of literature is either favorable or neutral with respect to coffee and cancer, based upon the results reported by researchers themselves. The American Institute for Cancer Research even lists coffee as a food that fights cancer.

A large study of almost 43,000 people conducted in Norway, one of the largest consumers of coffee per capita, also found no association between coffee consumption and overall risk of cancer.