Caffeinated Coffee May Reduce Oral/Pharyngeal Cancer Deaths

(HealthDay News) – People who drink >4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day have about a 50% lower risk of death due to oral/pharyngeal cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Janet S. Hildebrand, MPH, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a large prospective U.S. cohort study involving 968,432 men and women to evaluate the association between coffee and tea consumption and fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer.

During 26 years of follow-up, the researchers identified 868 deaths due to oral/pharyngeal cancer. Compared with no or occasional coffee intake, consumption of >4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day correlated with a significantly lower risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer death (relative risk, 0.51). The relative risk decreased in a dose-related manner, based on the number of cups consumed per day. The association was not affected by a person’s sex, alcohol use, or smoking status. There was a suggestion of an inverse association for drinking more than two cups of decaffeinated coffee per day (relative risk, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.37–1.01). There was no association observed for tea.

“As one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, coffee and its effects on human health are of considerable interest,” the authors write. “Although some health conditions will preclude the consumption of any caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, our results contribute to the body of research suggesting that there may be beneficial effects to coffee, particularly caffeinated coffee, and its daily enjoyment.”

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