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Cancer Patients and Coffee Intake

For patients living with mesothelioma and other cancers, having a soothing, hot drink can be a great mood booster. Little things like a nice coffee or cup of tea can make a big difference in mitigating stress. Now, according to researchers, there may be even more reasons for cancer patients to enjoy a regular cup of coffee.

Several studies show coffee can confer some protection against different types of cancer. However, it may also help with weight loss and diabetes prevention. Best of all for cancer patients, there is evidence that coffee could improve survival rates. More research is necessary to understand how and why coffee benefits cancer patients.  For now however, there is every reason to keep enjoying a nice, hot cup of coffee.

Coffee and Cancer Protection and Other Health Benefits

One of the most exciting findings is that coffee seem to confer a degree of protection from the development of cancer. While drinking a daily cup of coffee doesn’t guarantee you are safe from cancer, it seems to lower the risks. This hasn’t been common opinion until recently. As recently as 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer removed coffee from its list of substances that may actually increase cancer risk.

The Agency also stated that coffee may protect against the development of specific cancers, including endometrial and liver cancers. There is still evidence that coffee drinking correlates with lung cancer. However, this is likely due to other lifestyle factors. Coffee may also help protect against skin cancer, brain cancer, oral cancer, and prostate cancer.

In addition to cancer protection, coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. Overall, moderate coffee intake is associated with reduction in the risk of death from any cause.

How Coffee Protects Against Cancer

Exactly how coffee provides protection against cancer is not understood fully. However, research has led to several theories. For instance, some evidence suggests coffee increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and prevents chronic inflammation. Insulin insensitivity and long-term inflammation have both been linked with cancer development.

Other theories focus on chemicals in coffee, such as antioxidants, protect DNA from damaged, promote deaths of damaged cells, and slow the growth of tumors. None of these are proven. However, there is some evidence based in research. More studies need to be done to find out exactly how coffee lowers cancer risk and which compounds in coffee provide this benefit.

Coffee Improves Cancer Survival Rates

More exciting for cancer patients is recent evidence suggesting coffee consumption may lead to a greater chance of cancer survival. Specific research focused on colon cancer patients, studying those treated surgically and with chemotherapy, but findings may be relevant to patients battling other cancer types.

Patients who consumed four or more cups of coffee daily saw the most benefit. These patients were 42 percent less likely to have a cancer recurrence. They were also 34 percent less likely to die from cancer. These results are significant, demonstrating coffee could have a serious impact on cancer survival rates. It is important to note there were only modest benefits for patients who drank two or three cups of coffee per day. Four or more cups per day led to the most significant results.

Coffee Can Be Too Hot

While evidence suggests you can and should enjoy a daily cup of coffee, there is one caveat. Consuming drinks that are excessively hot, meaning those over 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius), may actually increase cancer risk. Studies that made the connection between hot drinks and cancer used a drink called mate. Mate is a traditional South American beverage and is usually consumed at very hot temperatures. The hot temperature of the drinks was linked to an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Coffee is typically consumed within a safe temperature range. If you are unsure, you can measure the temperature of the coffee in your cup.

Should You Start Drinking Coffee?

The research results relating coffee to cancer and other health conditions is interesting and exciting. However, the research is mostly inconclusive. More research is necessary to be sure drinking coffee is truly safe for cancer patients. Currently, experts do not recommend cancer patients start drinking coffee if they were not previously coffee drinkers. However, experts also say there is no reason to stop drinking coffee if you have cancer.

If you are considering adding coffee to your diet, talk to your doctors first. There may be reasons you should avoid or limit coffee, especially if you have experienced heart palpitations or arhytmhmia. And you may want to stick to black coffee, as the addition of cream and sugar could have their own effects on your health.

Page Edited by Dave Foster

Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available. Connect with Patient Advocate Dave Foster

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