Drink Coffee and Cut Oral Cancer Risk by Half

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are fans of coffee. Daily, we rededicate ourselves to the enjoyment of this nectar. Not that we need it, but you might be interested to know that yet another research study has found positive reasons to enjoy coffee. The latest benefit: it cuts your risk of developing oral cancer by nearly half!

The research study was led by Janet S. Hildebrand, of the Epidemiology Research Program at the American Cancer Society. The  results were recently (December 2012) published in the prestigious American Journal of Epidemiology. Nearly 100,000 men and women were studied over 26 years. At the onset of the study in 1982, none of the participants had cancer.

Coffee has been shown to extend your life. Coffee drinking and its impact on cancer has been studied in the past, with positive results. This new research focused on cancer of the mouth and throat. No other forms of cancer were considered.

Repeat 4 Times per Day
Over the 26 years of the study, 868 people died from oral or pharyngeal (throat) cancer. A statistical study of the results showed that the risk of dying from these forms of cancer decreased depending on how many cups of coffee were drunk on average every day. There were no other correlations found in the data. The results held steady depending on gender, smoking or not, or consumption of alcohol. The only true predictor of mouth or throat cancer mortality was coffee consumption.

People who drank four cups of coffee a day, on average, had a 49% lower risk of dying from these cancers. Nearly cut in half, just because they drank coffee. People who drank decaffeinated coffee (oh, the horror!) did receive some, albeit smaller benefit. People who did not drink coffee but chose tea instead realized no benefit at all. Sad but true, tea fans.

In addition to being delicious, coffee contains antioxidants and polyphenols. Both of these compounds have a lot of positive press in the medical literature. Is this what protects the mouth and throat from cancer? The study does not prove this, and suggests further research is needed.

Can I pay for my morning Starbucks visit with my medical savings account? That's probably not going to fly with the grumpy folks at the IRS. But does this provide yet another lovely side benefit to my morning libation? You bet it does!

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