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While in the past The American Cancer Society has noted that coffee has lots of benefits when it comes to cancer prevention overall or at least reducing a person’s risks of getting it within reason when used in moderation. However, as we learn more and more the benefits of things like coffee are becoming more and more outlined. 

The American Cancer Society back in June of this year published something titled ‘American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention’ and within that coffee was gone over once again. This was written by a group of many amazing names in the medical world and well, these guidelines are well worth looking into. It covers dietary things and so much more. 

In regard to coffee and its potential to impact cancer risks, ACS wrote as follows:

Whether coffee consumption reduces or increases the risk of different types of cancers has been an active area of research. Studies have suggested that coffee consumption likely reduces the risk of liver and endometrial cancers, although confounding by smoking may explain this latter association.4 There is some evidence that coffee reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx as well as basal cell skin cancer in both men and women, and possibly malignant melanoma in women.4166

On a related topic, previous studies have suggested that consuming very hot beverages, above 149 degrees Fahrenheit, such as coffee and/or tea, may increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and a recent meta‐analysis supported this conclusion.167 There may be an advantage to consuming coffee and other beverages at a modest (rather than very hot) temperature.

The potential mechanisms by which coffee may exert beneficial effects on the risk of some cancers are not completely understood. Hundreds of biologically active compounds, including caffeine, flavonoids, lignans, and other polyphenols, are found in roasted coffee. These and other coffee compounds have been shown to increase energy expenditure, inhibit cellular damage, regulate genes involved in DNA repair, have anti‐inflammatory properties, and/or inhibit metastasis.4166 Coffee also influences intestinal transit time and liver metabolism of carcinogens, and therefore these factors may also contribute to a lower risk for some digestive cancers.

The most important thing noted there is that drinking coffee might be contributing to the reduction of someone’s risks of digestive cancers. While that in itself might not sound like much, for some it could be the difference between becoming sick and remaining healthy. Coffee in itself has tons of antioxidants in it and well, it’s not as bad for us as most people assume. Sure, you shouldn’t be drinking a lot of coffee each day but a cup or two in the morning to wake yourself up might be benefiting you in more ways than most would assume. 

ACS has also written as follows on coffee consumption and cancer risks in the past:

Researchers have conducted more than 1,000 studies looking at this question, with mixed results. Some early studies seemed to show that coffee might increase risk of some cancer types. Since then, however, larger and better designed studies have weakened those conclusions. And many of the newer studies link coffee drinking to a lowered risk of some types of cancer, including prostate cancerliver cancerendometrial cancer, and some cancers of the mouth and throat.

But in some of these studies, the benefit was found in people who drank 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day, which is a lot. Too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, trigger migraines, and cause digestive problems. And if you take your coffee with cream and sugar, the added fat and calories can contribute to weight gain – which increases the risk for many types of cancer. According to Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, American Cancer Society managing director of nutrition and physical activity, the surest steps any of us can take to lower cancer risk are: don’t smoke, eat well, and be physically active.

Overall it seems drinking coffee in moderation is associated with a lower risk of dying in general which the ACS has noted before. While some people are concerned about coffee because it can contain something known as acrylamide, that in itself is something found in other things as well, for instance, it’s in french fries. However, we just don’t know enough about this as a whole. As mentioned above, there can be benefits to drinking coffee, but we shouldn’t be going overboard.