The Value Of The Microbiome
Researchers have only recently begun to appreciate the profound importance of the microbiome on human health. This is the community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms found throughout the body but especially in the digestive tract, mouth, and genitals, as well as on the skin. MSK scientists have found that these microbes can affect cancer outcomes. For example, they provide nourishment that helps repair the immune system after a bone marrow transplant.
Scientists know that the microbiome plays a major role in how food and drinks affect the body. This further complicates the picture when trying to isolate the effect of a specific factor, such as coffee consumption.
Additionally, coffee itself is made up of more than 1,000 chemical compounds. Although caffeine is the most well-known, the anticancer effect appears to be present with decaffeinated coffee as well. It is very difficult to determine which compounds might be protective or how.
Obviously, everything we eat and drink passes through the digestive tract, so understanding how the components of our diet interact with the microbiome will be important to clarifying how it might promote cancer or reduce its risk, Dr. Nash says.
Moderation Is The Key
Caffeine does come with some risks, when consumed in large amounts — about four cups of coffee or more per day. In addition to the jitters, overindulging in coffee can cause headaches, upset stomach, and insomnia. Itll also send you to the toilet more than normal.
Roizen says most people can tolerate moderate amounts of caffeine without undue side effects. But about 12% to 18% of the population have genes that make them whats called slow metabolizers of caffeine. A single cup can cause them symptoms similar to those most people get after drinking coffee to excess.
Slow metabolizers get all the side effects, Roizen says.
Genetic testing can determine if you are a slow metabolizer, but theres a simpler, cheaper way: Sip a 12-ounce cup of coffee over the course of about an hour. If you get a headache, nausea, abnormal heartbeat, or anxiety, you have your answer.
Pregnant women should also be cautious about the number of caffeinated beverages, coffee or otherwise, that they drink. Limit your caffeine to less than 200 milligrams a day, or about 8 to 12 ounces of coffee, depending on how strong you like it.
“It is the caffeine that drives associated risks for pregnant women,” Roizen says.
Coffee Not A Possible Carcinogen Study Finds
Theres not enough evidence to say whether coffee might cause cancer or protect against it, a global body of cancer experts said Thursday.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer stepped down its classification of coffee as a possible cause of cancer, and says its fresh review of the evidence shows its not clear whether it does or not.
But very, very hot drinks might, the IARC, part of the World Health Organization, said.
Coffee is not classifiable as to carcinogenicity, said Dana Loomis, an expert on disease patterns at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who led the study committee.
The team went through more than 1,000 studies done from the 1970s to this year and could reach no conclusion either that it is safe or that it is dangerous, Loomis told reporters on a telephone briefing.
But theres good news for women.
More than 40 cohort and case-control studies and a meta-analysis including nearly 1 million women consistently indicated either no association or a modest inverse association for cancer of the female breast and coffee drinking, the team wrote.
Its the first time IARC has looked at coffee since it said in 1991 that coffee was a possible cause of cancer, based on some studies linking coffee drinking with bladder cancer.
But evidence from groups,mostly in South America, who drink very hot mate, a popular drink, shows that extremely hot drinks — 150 degrees F or hotter — just might be linked with cancer, the group said.
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Coffee Consumption In The United States
Fifty-four percent of adults in the United States drink coffee every day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
The average coffee drinker consumes three cups of it each day. Thus far, research indicates coffee doesnt cause breast cancer or increase its risk. In fact, it could actually be tied to a lower risk of breast cancer risk.
Busting Myths: Can Coffee Cause Cure Or Prevent Cancer
Coffee and cancer have had a rocky relationship over the years. Coffee was once recklessly touted as a cancer treatment and later declared a carcinogen. Today, new studies indicate it may help prevent certain types of cancer. And recently, a California judge stirred controversy by ruling that a health warning should be attached to coffee sold in that state. So, what are the myths and realities when it comes to coffee and cancer?
Can coffee increase the risk of cancer?
There is no clear evidence linking coffee consumption and increased risk of cancer, says Anthony Perre, MD, Chief of the Division of Outpatient Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® and an Internist at our Philadelphia hospital. In fact, the World Health Organization removed coffee from its list of carcinogens in 2016. WHO added coffee to its list of risk factors more than 25 years ago, but reversed course after more recent studies found no evidence that coffee increased cancer risk. A study published in 2017 showed that drinking two cups of coffee a day may lower the risk for several cancer types, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and head and neck cancers, Dr. Perre says. There are probably a number of factors that may contribute to the reduced risk. The bottom line is theres no overwhelming evidence that coffee can cause or help prevent cancer.
Why is coffee considered a carcinogen in California?
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Postmenopausal Women Who Drink Coffee Have A Statistically Significant Reduced Risk Of Developing Estrogen Receptor
It turns out that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of breast cancer overall than those who abstain however, when researchers really dug into the correlation and corrected for other lifestyle factorssuch as weight, level of physical activity, family history, and age at menopausethe protective effect of coffee was only measurable for ER-negative breast cancer. The results of the study showed a modest decrease in overall breast cancer risk and a significant reduction in the risk of ER-negative breast cancer.
This doesnt mean that postmenopausal women who want to avoid breast cancer need only to slurp coffee to avoid the disease. What it means is that if you tend to avoid indulging in coffee based on the perception that it could harm your healthyou may be able to enjoy this simple pleasure without the extra helping of guilt.
Its still important to maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active, eat a nutrient-dense diet, and avoid smoking however, if you do all those things and still want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, it appears that you can do so without worry. The bottom linebalance is always best.1
What Is Acrylamide And What Do We Know About Its Link To Cancer
Acrylamide is a compound that forms naturally in some foodsmost often those that are plant-basedduring high-temperature cooking . For coffee, acrylamide is formed in the early stages of the roasting process with its concentration decreasing thereafter. Acrylamide in food does not come from packaging or the environment.
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Are There Other Risks Of Drinking Coffee
Drinking very hot beverages such as coffee and tea may have other risks. Consuming scalding hot beverages may irritate body surfaces that the liquid comes in contact with, such as the lining of the mouth and throat. This persistent irritation may injure cells and promote tumor growth, and might be linked to cancers of the esophagus .3, 7, 8
Coffee And Tea May Decrease Risk Of Kidney Cancer
According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, increased intake of coffee and tea appears to decrease the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma.
Researchers from several institutions around the world were involved in a clinical study to evaluate associations between coffee, tea, milk, soda, and fruit and vegetable juice intake and risks of developing RCC. This study included results from 13 studies including 530,469 women and 244,483 men. Follow-up was between seven and 20 years. Information about diet was gathered at the beginning of the trial.
- Individuals who drank three or more 8-ounce cups of coffee per day had a reduced risk of developing RCC compared with those who drank less than one 8-ounce cup per day.
- Individuals who drank one or more 8-ounce cups of tea per day had a reduced risk of developing RCC compared with those who did not drink tea.
- There were no associations between milk, soda, or juice intake.
The researchers concluded that greater consumption of coffee and tea may be associated with a lower risk of renal cell cancer. These results add to existing evidence suggesting that intake of coffee and tea does not appear to contribute to the risk of developing cancers.9
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The Verdict: Coffee Is Not Important But The Big Health Picture Is
Dr. Nash says the current studies should not be grounds for changing coffee-drinking behavior. People should feel free to have coffee, but theres no reason to start drinking it more often as a preventive measure, he says.
Whats more important, he says, is that people keep an eye on the big picture and follow well-established health guidelines. Almost every patient asks me what they can do to keep the cancer from coming back, he says. I tell them to cut down on processed food eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains drink alcohol in moderation exercise and dont smoke.
If you enjoy coffee, feel free to continue drinking it in reasonable amounts. he adds. Just dont add sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity and diabetes, which may in turn increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.
There May Be A Link Between Coffee And Lung Cancer Study Suggests
3 April 19
But a new study suggests that there may be a downside to your morning brew: Researchers found that drinking two or more cups of coffee or tea may increase a person’s risk of lung cancer.
The findings were presented on March 31, here at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Of note, the link was even true for nonsmokers. Because people who smoke cigarettes are also more likely to drink coffee and tea, it was difficult in previous studies to disentangle the effects of these drinks from those of smoking, in developing lung cancer, said lead study author Jingjing Zhu, a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
In the new study, an international group of researchers analyzed data from 17 different studies that included a total of 1.2 million participants in the U.S. and Asia. The studies noted whether participants drank coffee or tea or smoked cigarettes. About half were nonsmokers.
The participants were tracked for an average of 8.6 years. During that time, more than 20,500 participants developed lung cancer.
What’s more, if nonsmokers were exposed to second-hand smoke which wasn’t accounted for but could also increase lung cancer risk that could have also skewed the results, she said.
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Coffees Benefits Outweigh Reported Cancer Risk
Like many other experts, McCullough says that coffee does not appear to raise the odds of having cancer. She acknowledges the presence of acrylamides, but she says plenty of foods have more acrylamides than coffee.
If you want to reduce acrylamides in your diet, avoid cookies and fried foods like chips, she says. But the evidence does not seem to suggest that acrylamides in the diet increase the risk of cancer.
High amounts of acrylamides have caused cancer in laboratory animals, says Giovannucci, but those animals received much higher doses than humans get from food, including from coffee.
In human studies looking at acrylamide, he says, none indicated increased risk of cancer.
Experts agree that you should worry less about coffee and more about what you put into it. Roizen says that if you add calorie-dense cream and sugar, you may cancel out the good stuff.
Its not thought that cream and sugar directly interfere with the effects, but they clearly contradict the effects, he says. For example, if you are trying to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, you shouldnt add something like sugar that increases your risk at the same time.
Does Coffee Cause Cancer
Research has demonstrated both beneficial and deleterious health effects of coffee. First, the good news: Moderate coffee consumptionhas been linked to many health benefits. Brewed coffee can be a rich source of natural antioxidants, which may play a significant role in slowing the aging process and in inhibiting life- threatening diseases such heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers disease, and cancer. According to the Harvard Health Publications, studies have shown that coffee drinkers are 50% less likely to suffer from cancer than non-coffee drinkers. Several studies have suggested that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. In other research, coffee has been shown to help protect against asthma , gall stones, cirrhosis of the liver, and Parkinsons Disease. Because coffee helps boost body metabolism, it can also be effective in a weight loss program.
On the other hand, there is also bad news: Coffee can really lower your body pH especially if you drink several cups per day and disease, especially cancer, thrives in an acid environment. Caffeine consumption has been linked to breast cancer, and breast lumps have often regressed in women who adopt the caffeine-restricted Minton Diet. When coffee is roasted, the carcinogen 3,4 benzopyrene is formed. There have also been identified two other possible carcinogens found in coffee.
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If You’re Concerned About Your Risk Of Developing Cancer
It’s important to speak to your healthcare provider regarding any concerns you may have about developing cancer, including risk factors and how cancer is diagnosed and monitored.
For many types of cancer such as bladder cancer, early detection leading to treatment significantly improves overall survival and quality of life, and there are a range of tests and procedures available for this purpose.
If you’re concerned about bladder cancer, ask your doctor about Cxbladder. Cxbladder is a cutting edge genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer in patients presenting with symptoms like blood in urine and those being monitored for recurrence. The test works at a molecular level, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer.
Cxbladder is discreet, quick and non-invasive. It comes as a suite of test options, each optimized for a different point in the patient journey.
- Triage: Incorporates known bladder cancer risk factors to help rapidly rule out the disease without the need for further invasive procedures.
- Detect: Designed to work alongside other tests to improve overall detection accuracy.
- Monitor: Optimised for bladder cancer surveillance, reducing the need for further invasive tests.
Can Coffee Cause Cancer
Based on studies in animals exposed to very high acrylamide concentrations, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified acrylamide as a probable carcinogen.1, 5 However, as summarized below, studies in humans and based on a larger data set have found no strong evidence that acrylamide in foods is associated with the risk of any type of cancer and the latest research suggests that coffee may have a beneficial effect on the risk of some cancer types.1, 3, 7, 8
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How Does Drinking Coffee Reduce The Risk Of Some Cancers
The potential mechanisms by which drinking coffee may prevent some cancers are not fully understood. In general, coffee contains a range of biologically active compounds, including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, and diterpenes, which may have beneficial effects because of their antioxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Coffee drinking may lower the risk of endometrial cancer by reducing estrogen levels and/or through an insulin-mediated mechanism.
- The protective effect against liver cancer may also be partly because of coffee-related increases in insulin sensitivity.
- The influence of coffee on digestive tract motility and liver metabolism may contribute to a lower risk for some digestive cancers.
Two Years Ago The World Health Organization Removed Coffee From Its Possible Carcinogen List So Why Is California Now Mandating Coffee Come With A Cancer Warning
Figueiredo: Coffee contains acrylamide, which is produced during the bean roasting process. The IARC considers acrylamide a “probable carcinogen” largely based on animal studies, but large observational studies, systematic reviews, and analyses of human studies have showed that dietary acrylamide is not related to the risk of most common cancers.
Some have reported modest associations for rarer cancers, like kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancers, but overall there isn’t a lot of concrete evidence at this point to suggest acrylamide increases cancer risk in humans. This is an active area of research.
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The Science Of Coffee
While coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world, we may not really appreciate the science that is involved in its production. Coffee is made from ground, roasted coffee beans, which are actually the dried, caffeine-rich seeds of coffee plant berries. Coffees chemical properties vary according to the particular coffee bush, how the coffee bean is processed and roasted, and how the coffee is prepared for consumption. Accordingly, the composition of coffee is complex and includes caffeine and other compounds, including those that are biologically active.
Notably, no proven risk of cancer with coffee drinking has been found and some health benefits associated with its consumption have been suggested. However, trace components in coffee, such as acrylamide, have received attention in the scientific community and the following summarizes what has been found.