Coffee may lower risk of head and neck cancers

June 24, 2010

A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows that those who drink coffee may have a lower rate of developing head and neck cancers. The researchers examined results from nine earlier studies on head and neck cancers, which also included information on coffee or tea drinking. In each study, cancer patients had been compared to either the general population or to hospital patients who didn’t have cancer.

Overall, the risk of developing head and neck cancers was 12% lower in people who drank coffee compared with those who didn’t, after accounting for a variety of factors, including cigarette smoking. And the more coffee consumed, the lower the cancer risk. In those who drank more than four cups a day, for instance, the risk was reduced by more than a third. For cancer of the voice box, or larynx, coffee didn’t seem to play a role; nor did tea or decaffeinated coffee for any type of head and neck cancer.