Your cup of coffee at breakfast could more than just help you waking up. According to a new study, a cup of coffee could reduce your risk of getting liver cancer by half.
Thanks to a new scientific study, coffee can add another benefit to its already long list. Already known for its weight loss properties and heart health benefits, coffee can now add liver cancer prevention to its resume.
Researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast say that coffee reduces the risk of liver cancer. Dr. Una McMenamin explained at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Glasgow on 3-5 November: “Our results are reassuring because they suggest that coffee can have beneficial effects on health.”
Coffee combats the development of cancer cells
They examined the health of almost 500,000 people, three quarters of whom drank coffee (365,157 participants). They found that coffee lovers were 50% less likely to develop hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common primary liver cancer in adults. The analyses also took into account the participants’ alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity. According to the team, the risks decreased by 13% per cup drunk daily.
The main author of the study, Kim Tu Tran, described the mechanism that could explain this beneficial effect: “It is because coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine which can protect from cancer.” Coffee beans contain polyphenols, known for their role as antioxidants.
However, the expert warns that drinking coffee is not as protective against liver cancer as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption or losing weight.
Liver cancer prevention: no difference between instant coffee, ground coffee and decaffeinated coffee?
Some scientists suspected that instant coffee was carcinogenic because of its high acrylamide content. But the Irish university study showed that the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was just as low with a cup of regular or decaffeinated coffee.
Following their work, the researchers in the study suggested that coffee contains more anti-cancer compounds, such as chlorogenic acid, which can prevent the spread of cancerous cells.
Although coffee seems to protect the liver from tumors, the team found no connection between the drink and other digestive cancers, such as bowel and stomach cancer.
Hepatocellular carcinoma: how does the disease develop?
42,030 adults (29,480 men and 12,550 women) in the USA will be diagnosed with liver cancer this year alone according to Cancer.net. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common liver cancer. It develops from specialized liver cells called hepatocytes.
Liver Cancer symptoms
Liver cancer is a silent disease and usually shows symptoms only at later stages which makes it very lethal. It is usually detected during tests for other conditions. Regardless, at an advanced stage liver cancer can cause the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- General fatigue
- Extreme Itching
- Jaundice in the skin and eyes
- A mass in the area of the liver, noticeable by palpation