Regular coffee drinkers are less likely to develop oral cancers.
Researchers found regular coffee drinkers were 39 per cent less likely to develop oral and pharynx cancers than those who didn’t drink coffee. It follows a similar study by Japanese scientists who tracked patients’ drinking habits for 13 years and who found those downing at least one cup a day were much less likely to get tumours than those who hardly ever drank coffee.
It also comes as another piece of research suggested regularly drinking tea and coffee can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
The latest study, carried out in the United States, analysed the outcome of nine previous studies collected by the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology consortium.
The conclusions were released by the American Association for Cancer Research.
Mia Hashibe, lead researcher and an assistant professor in the department of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah, said: “Since coffee is so widely used and there is a relatively high incidence and low survival rate of these forms of cancers, our results have important public health implications that need to be further addressed.
“What makes our results so unique is that we had a very large sample size, and since we combined data across many studies, we had more statistical power to detect associations between cancer and coffee,” she added.
The study appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The consumption of coffee has been found to have mixed effects.
A number of recent studies have suggested that coffee may help prevent cancers, including prostate cancer and brain tumours.
It has been found to combat depression, protect against memory loss and reduce the chances of liver cancer.
However, there have been concerns that pregnant women drinking more than two cups a day are more at risk of having small babies.
Another study published in 2007 also suggested four or more cups a day coffee damaged a woman’s chances of conceiving.