Being Well

Discover If Coffee and Cancer Actually Affect Each Other

Does your morning coffee affect your cancer risk? Probably not. Find out all you need to know about how coffee and cancer relate to each other.

Cancer patients and survivors are often conscious about what they eat and drink. When it comes to coffee and cancer risk, recent research (thankfully) shows there’s nothing to worry about. For cancer patients and survivors, as well as other people looking to minimize their risks for cancer, it’s fine to enjoy your morning cup of joe without worrying if it contributes to the start or spread of cancer.

The Research About Coffee and Cancer

According to a group of 23 scientists put together by the International Agency on Research for Cancer, there’s no evidence that coffee causes cancer. There was some evidence, however, that very hot beverages can increase the risk for esophageal cancer. This led the scientists to think that the temperature of the beverage was responsible for increased cancer risk but not the drink itself. When a drink, such as tea or coffee, was consumed at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius (about 158 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, the risk of esophageal cancer increased during the study and during previous research.

As long as you aren’t drinking your coffee piping hot, you can happily continue to enjoy your cup every morning. In fact, you might even be able to use coffee as a cancer prevention measure. According to the American Cancer Society, coffee beans are rich in antioxidants and have been researched to demonstrate a decrease in cancer of the prostrate, liver and even the throat. While there’s still research left to do to further prove this connection, it’s another excellent reason to wake up with a cup of good coffee.

But What About Other Caffeinated Beverages?

If coffee is not your beverage of choice, you may be wondering if your other caffeine intake can be linked to cancer. Oncology Nutrition, a dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that “most health experts agree that these things [coffee and caffeine] do not increase cancer risk, and in some cases, may even decrease risk.” And if you drink diet soda for your fix, you may wonder if the artificial sweeteners increase your risk. While you won’t get much nutrition from those beverages, according to the Mayo Clinic, there’s no evidence the ingredients in them cause cancer.

That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a great choice if you’re going through treatment. According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, caffeine can have side effects that might negatively affect your body when undergoing cancer treatments. For example, caffeine can increase blood pressure and is a diuretic, which means that for those with kidney or heart issues during treatment, caffeine may aggravate blood pressure, increase heart rate, as well as increase urine output. Any of these side effects could be especially dangerous or worrisome for certain patients.

If you’re concerned about coffee and cancer risk, or about how caffeine could affect your current cancer treatment protocol, talk to your doctor about it. In the meantime, don’t give up your morning coffee routine. Cheers!

If you're worried about how what you eat and drink affects your health or cancer risk, consult with your doctors about maintaining a healthy diet.

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Haley Burress
Haley Burress