Does coffee protect against liver cancer, melanoma, mouth and pharynx cancer OR does it cause disease? A doctor explains

Coffee and cancer: is there a link?

Photo: IENS

New Delhi: Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? Whether it’s an early morning appetizer to start your day or something to relax that hardened body after a busy day at the office, or maybe a simple hot cup of tea to drink on a rainy day. Coffee has been consumed for centuries. Many swear by it too.

Coffee itself is a known concoction of a multitude of chemicals, the most famous being caffeine, other chemicals present include chlorogenic acid and putrescine among others. Coffee making involves the use of multiple chemicals, fertilizers and insecticides, among others.

Thus, simple coffee is a powerhouse of chemicals.

Many have asked me if coffee can cause cancer. Conventional wisdom would say that excessive drinking is somehow associated with the dreaded disease. Any excess would be deleterious, why should coffee be any different.

However, studies suggest otherwise, a few studies done on the subject show that coffee is not associated with cancers in general. A few studies have linked coffee to the risk of bladder cancer and lung cancer, but no conclusive evidence has been found.

In colorectal cancer, liver cancer and breast cancer, coffee has also been shown to have a protective effect.

Now, it must be understood that none of these are absolute, and many more studies are needed on this subject to conclusively prove a protective or destructive association. The polyphenols present in coffee are known to have a beneficial effect in the prevention of cancer and other diseases such as hypertension and heart disease; while the acrylamide present is known to be carcinogenic with an association seen with lung, bladder and blood cancers.
A study published in 2020 did a meta-analysis of all previous studies done to try to find the association between cancer and coffee consumption. After studying a total of 36 different articles on the same topic, they came to the conclusion that coffee actually protected against endometrial cancer, liver cancer, melanoma, oral cancer, and cancers. of the pharynx. Coffee had some association with bladder cancers and a possible association with lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer also agreed with the above findings with respect to reduced cancer risk with particular emphasis on liver cancer and endometrial cancer.

They could not conclusively find any positive association between forms of cancer.

Finally, I would like to share my opinion on the whole conundrum of coffee and cancer. The most common answer I would give to my patients who ask these questions would be that coffee is safe! It had been consumed by our ancestors eons ago and continues to be consumed now. Any item consumed in excess is harmful, and coffee is the same. Small amounts make no difference. Many studies have been conducted to try to find associations between certain elements and certain diseases, and some may also exaggerate this association. We shouldn’t read too much into every article we find, but rather critique it with a steady head. Around a good hot coffee!

Dr. Prasad KasbekarConsultant Surgical Oncologist, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai

(This article was published from a news service and nothing except the title has been changed.)

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