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Medicine

Four Cups of Coffee A Day Cuts Risk of Oral Cancer 151

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the time-to-pick-up-a-smoking-habit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Coffee may help lower the risk of developing oral and pharyngeal cancer and of dying from the disease. The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, was conducted using the Cancer Prevention Study II. The large cohort study began in 1982 by the American Cancer Society. Researchers were able to examine 968,432 men and women, none of whom had cancer at the time of their enrollment in the study." Four or more cups a day lowered the risk of getting oral cancers by a whopping 49%.
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Four Cups of Coffee A Day Cuts Risk of Oral Cancer

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  • by PPH (736903) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:09PM (#42248689)

    ... my dental hygienist will kill me if she has to scrape any more Starbucks stains off my teeth.

    At least cancer may give me a few more years to live.

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:19PM (#42248757) Homepage

      ... my dental hygienist will kill me if she has to scrape any more Starbucks stains off my teeth.

      No worries, the article clearly said "coffee."

    • ... my dental hygienist will kill me if she has to scrape any more Starbucks stains off my teeth.

      forget the stains, acidic drinks pull calcium off of your teeth

      • Maybe calcium protects against oral cancer? :p

      • by danormsby (529805)
        Not quite as clear cut as that. Depends on your teeth which depends on your genes and environment. I love coffee but can't stomach more than one cup a day as the caffeine does me in. This puts me in a different pool of people than frequent coffee drinkers which is apparently at a higher risk of cancer. This isn't the same as saying drink more coffee and have less cancer.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      You know if you actually brush those teeth that is not a problem.

    • by Guignol (159087) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:24AM (#42249788)
      That's the wrong "Yeah, but"
      The real "Yeah, but" is this one:
      Yeah, but my gf thinks it tastes bad when I drink too much coffee, therefore
      Four Cups of Coffee A Day Cuts Risk of Oral Sex
      I'm so sorry but the balance is just not there
  • That's great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UltraZelda64 (2309504) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:11PM (#42248709)

    ...but what does it increase the chances of? Well, besides drug (caffeine) addiction?

    Come on, there's always a catch...

    • by kenj0418 (230916) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:18PM (#42248749)

      Come on, there's always a catch...

      don't be so negative there is no catch drinking coffee coffee doesn't have a catch I drink lots of coffee and I don't have any side-effects I think you are being paranoid ha ha I'm not going to have oral cancer and you are just mad about it why don't you chill out and have a cup of coffee like everyone else I think I need another cup of coffee what the hell is this slashdot says I have to wait 30 seconds to post aaahhhh *click* *click* *click* ahhh still 28 more seconds

    • Re:That's great... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ygslash (893445) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @07:27AM (#42249182) Journal

      ...but what does it increase the chances of? Well, besides drug (caffeine) addiction?

      I'll bet the rate of cancer morbidity among heroin users is extremely low.

    • by epSos-de (2741969)
      Correct. We should use our common sense in here.
      Hot coffee can actually increase the chances of cancer, if you burn your tissue way too often.

      The coffee producers funded a study that said that hot tea can create cancer. Now they funded a study that promotes coffee, but actually the tea is far more superior than coffee against cancer, because it can be blended and have multiple effects, instead of one. Most of the medicine was extracted from herbs. And most of tea is made from herbs too.

      The most healt
      • by cusco (717999)
        Green coffee??? Why the hell drink something if it tastes like crap? May as well just chew the beans, at least then you're getting a little bit of nutrition with the foul taste.
    • Re:That's great... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Creepy (93888) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @12:53PM (#42251597) Journal

      The catch is this is American style drip brewed coffee. I'd be curious to see if this same finding is true for French Press or Espresso, which previously have been found to contain oils that are cancer causing, but these are removed in filtered coffee. Perhaps they counteract each other. Also I'd be curious if they used teabags or a tea ball in their research (that didn't find results in favor or against), which would be similar to filtered vs unfiltered coffee.

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        Based on the residue left on the cup, I would assume that espresso retains the oils, you can usually see any oily residue floating on the top of a short black.

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      One possible 'catch' is that caffeine can be a trigger for migraine apparently. I am currently trialling an exclusion diet for migraine management and one of the restrictions is no more than one serve of caffeine or chocolate per day - and a 'serve' is smaller than you'd think.

      Ironically, one of the medications my husband used to be prescribed for migraine was a product called Cafergot, to be taken at the onset of a migraine, it used caffeine to carry ergot directly to the brain for faster uptake in order t

  • COFFEE? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:13PM (#42248721)

    I like coffee. I REALLY LIKE COFFEE. I drink a lot of coffee. SURE I PEE A LOT, and YES well MAYBE but not REALLY, Iâ(TM)m NOT HIGH STRUNG. I just tell MY FRIENDS to MELLOW THE FUCK OUT. Itâ(TM)s not me, itâ(TM)s you. YOU MOTHER FUCKER. Not me, you. I love coffee. HOW FAST ARE WE GOING? I have things to do. Good bye⦠SERIOUSLY, GOOD FUCKING BYE. Good bye. I love coffee. Or is it cocaine, Iâ(TM)m not sure. Or maybe Iâ(TM)m a crack head? HELLO! HELLO! Yellow mellow. Coffee? Did someone say coffee? I love coffee. Mostly triple espressos, no water no ice. LOVE the drip. I LOVE THE FUCKING DRIP. Coffee that is.

  • Anyone good with statistics? Sounds to me like 49% is actually bad, I mean, 51% of the people in this study got cancer.
  • You Sure? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by okmijnuhb (575581) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:24PM (#42248779)
    You sure it doesn't mean that those with the physical constitution to withstand 4 cups of coffee are resistant to oral cancers?
    These studies are meaningless.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      You sure it doesn't mean that those with the physical constitution to withstand 4 cups of coffee are resistant to oral cancers?

      These studies are meaningless.

      You will discover the meaning only if you drink coffee. No, I mean lots of coffee... you should strive to get over the 4 cups.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This. There is a reason 2/3s~ of the human race don't get cancer. Hint, it isn't because they were lucky.

      Most people develop and destroy minor cancers throughout their entire life, a little known fact that seems to be forgotten by the majority.
      These people, even exposed to high numbers of carcinogens still don't develop full-on cancers.
      That is a genetic reason and one we still don't fully understand yet, that is different even from diet. (but diet does increase your defences too)
      No, Petri-dish tests aren

      • by BeanThere (28381)

        This. There is a reason 2/3s~ of the human race don't get cancer. Hint, it isn't because they were lucky.

        That should be simple to test, by checking if four cups of coffee only lowers oral cancer or other types of cancer too. If it only lowers oral cancer but mysteriously no others, then this lowering effect has nothing to do with your "physical constitution".

        Cancer rates are not entirely genetic, that much is already extremely well-established ... there are other major risk factors like smoking and obesit

      • by Bengie (1121981)

        Most people develop and destroy minor cancers throughout their entire life, a little known fact that seems to be forgotten by the majority.

        Yep. Say hello to cancer caused by AIDS because your white cells can't fight off the cancer as it normally does.

    • Many diseases are mediated by the microflora living on and in the human body; e.g. we now know that ulcers mostly result from bacterial infections in the stomach [wikipedia.org]. A lot of oral cancer comes from the STD HPV [oralcancerfoundation.org]. I'd bet that a lot of coffee changes the balance of bateria and fungus and viruses living in the mouth, leading indirectly to a lower incidence of cancer.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      You sure it doesn't mean that those with the physical constitution to withstand 4 cups of coffee are resistant to oral cancers?

      Withstand four cups of coffee?? That doesn't make sense at all, most coffee drinkers I know drink at least that much, and most non-coffee drinkers I know don't drink it because they just don't like the taste. The only people I know who hold it down to two cups are older folks; caffiene makes them shake.

      And yes, correlation doesn't prove causation, but the fact that it's cancers of b

  • by gringer (252588) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:29PM (#42248803)

    I find that changing relative risk to absolute risk makes the wow factor of these studies go down considerably. The absolute risk is of getting oral cancers and dying from them can be derived from the abstract:

    Among 968,432 men and women who were cancer free at enrollment, 868 deaths due to oral/pharyngeal cancer occurred during 26 years of follow-up.

    So the 26-year absolute risk of death due to oral/pharyngeal cancer in this study was about 1 in 1,000 (one thousand). Assuming an even spread across the years, that's also about 1 in 30,000 for any given year.

    Drinking greater than 4 cups of coffee a day has a relative risk of about 0.5, so that's about 1 in 2,000 over 26 years (a difference of 0.045%), or about 1 in 60,000 in any given year (a difference of 0.0017%).

    Note that this risk reduction is associated with death due specifically to oral/pharyngeal cancer, not the cancer alone -- it does not follow from these results that drinking coffee reduces your risk of getting cancer. If you get oral/pharyngeal cancer, but die from being impaled by an angry unicorn, it doesn't count for the purposes of this result / association.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Drinking cyanide daily would also lower oral cancer death rates...

    • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:24AM (#42250687) Homepage Journal

      Note that this risk reduction is associated with death due specifically to oral/pharyngeal cancer, not the cancer alone -- it does not follow from these results that drinking coffee reduces your risk of getting cancer. If you get oral/pharyngeal cancer, but die from being impaled by an angry unicorn, it doesn't count for the purposes of this result / association.

      Thank you! A beacon of logic in an attic of doubt and uncertainty.

      In order to assess the risk, we need to compare the total risk of drinking coffee with the total risk of not drinking coffee. Just examining and comparing one aspect is not enough - we need to take everything into account.

      I've been considering starting to drink coffee now that I'm getting older (>50 yrs), and have been doing a bunch of research on it. I've found a number of benefits in the literature to drinking coffee; for example, it lowers the risk of kidney stones (surprising, in my view).

      I have not found any long-term health disadvantages to drinking coffee (setting aside obvious short-term effects), and the number of benefits is surprising. I'm not ready to consider coffee as "safe" quite yet, but so far as I can tell it's a good bet.

      We need a study of the total risk associated with drinking coffee, in the manner that we have total risks associated with smoking and drinking.

      • by JimFive (1064958)
        One thing to note is that you can probably get all of the coffee benefit with decaf which would take away most of the detriment, (headaches and heart issues).
    • by fropenn (1116699)
      Excellent points. It could also be the case the people who drink more coffee have more money, and are therefore more able to afford cancer treatment (thus reducing the "risk").
      I would recommend this article in The Atlantic: Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science. [theatlantic.com] It points out many of the fallacies of this kind of medical research.
  • by Goldsmith (561202) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:32PM (#42248829)

    A 26 year study, following 968,432 people and these guys draw a conclusion revolving around coffee and a cancer involving 0.09% of the people in the study?

    That's some serious barrel scraping on that data set.

    That said, it's one more argument to use when my wife complains that I drink too much coffee. Go science!

  • Four cups a day That's the addict limit.

    I think everyone knows that in the long run, this does more harm than good. *Much more harm*.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Four cups a day That's the addict limit.

      Daily use of any amount of an addictive substance will cause addiction.

      I think everyone knows that in the long run, this does more harm than good.

      I can cite studies that show all sorts of beneficial effects of coffee, but I have yet to run across a single one that shows deleterious effects. You got a citation, coward?

    • by JimFive (1064958)
      There's nothing here that says it has to be caffeinated coffee.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:34PM (#42248843)
    Subsequent research will no doubt show that the coffee isn't directly responsible. People drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day are far too wired to engage in oral sex, so the result of fewer infections of oral STD's leads to fewer oral cancers.
    • Now that's what I call science...
    • by Zibodiz (2160038)
      Actually, my hypothesis is that oral cancer is caused by drinking soda; so the people who drink 4+ cups of coffee/day don't get it, because they never have any soda.
      Now, somebody, please come out with a study that refutes my hypothesis so I can get back to drinking Mountain Dew by next sumer!
  • by dalias (1978986) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:37PM (#42248855)
    Not quite as impressive as the 100% reduction in the rate of Alzheimer's, but 49% is still pretty damn good. Not sure what's up with all the anti-coffee trolls calling this propaganda from "the coffee industry".
  • mmmm (Score:1, Informative)

    by jameshofo (1454841)
    Sure because the people who drank more than 4 cups a day died of other "natural" causes like a tac a cardia, its a blip but it could have been caused by a few other behavioral coincidences. It feels a little more like someone trying to get value out of 26 years of possibly unfruitful research. there's another study that show's no determinable link! http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/49/4/1049.short [aacrjournals.org]

    but certainly you can't disprove something by showing no determinable results on it.
  • 868 people out of 968K comes out at roughly ~0.09% got the cancer. If the heavy coffee drinker had a 50% lower risk then naively we got 289 heavy coffee drinker and 579 non coffee drinker. Or a risk of 0.058% for non coffee drinker and 0.029% for heavy coffee drinker. Put in perspective you have 1 chance of out 1700 to get the cancer, and you lower it to 1 chance out of 3400. Not worth being forced to drink the filthy filthy thing.
  • ....coffee is good for us again? Or maybe at least until next week, when the media sensationalizes some stupid study that shows drinking ten or more cups of coffee a day increases our 1 in 10^8 chance of developing some condition by 10%.

  • ... How many Norwegians [satwcomic.com] have oral cancer.

    Or all the other people on this list of heavy coffee consumers.

  • Now for the study proving that pizza and beer are good also. I feel I may be a valid entry to the data set there...
  • Sure, I drink coffee. At least, 1 mug at breakfast, often a couple more expressos during the day. Often I have to go running to the toilets, in a couple of minutes. I suspect I am allergic to it, or to some substance added when they are processing it. Furthermore, I would like to know who paid for this study. There is a huge industry around coffee abuse.
    • by Malc (1751)

      Maybe you'd do better if stuck to espresso during the day.

    • by Malc (1751)

      Maybe you'd do better if you stuck to espresso during the day.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Furthermore, I would like to know who paid for this study.

      Maybe you should get another cup... or maybe you had too much and the jitters kept you from reading and digesting the summary, which stated right up front that it's the American Cancer Society?

      There is a huge industry around coffee abuse.

      How could one abuse coffee? Inject it intraveniously?

      • How could one abuse coffee? Inject it intraveniously?

        Intravenous coffee seems like a damn good idea to me most mornings.

  • Sunrise (Score:1, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360)

    Every day, about 310,000,000 Americans do not get cancer of any kind.

    The Sun also rises every day.

    Therefore, we can conclude with 95% confidence that Sunrise prevents cancer.

    • by Zibodiz (2160038)
      Of those who did get cancer, all of them were diagnosed with cancer (though ~5% during an autopsy). Thus we can see with 100% certainty that a medical diagnosis causes cancer. Protect your loved ones, don't let them get diagnosed or tested!
    • But it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing "look over there!"

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:06AM (#42249692)
    It's not the coffee. It's the antioxidants in the coffee. For a lot of Americans, coffee is probably the only steady source of antioxidants in their diets.

    It's the same thing as with wine. Drinking some wine everyday isn't good for your heart because the wine is good for you. It's because of the antioxidants that were in the grapes.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It's the same thing as with wine. Drinking some wine everyday isn't good for your heart because the wine is good for you. It's because of the antioxidants that were in the grapes.

      That's not what the Mayo Clinic [mayoclinic.com] says. It does say that antioxidants are good for the heart, but it says grape juice is possibly as good.

      Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?
      Answer
      from Martha Grogan, M.D.
      Possibly.

      Not scientifically proven, in other words.

  • by Zibodiz (2160038) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @10:35AM (#42250268)
    Okay, not to be a wet blanket, but my Dad told me about this a week ago, after reading about it in his subscription of AARP's [print] magazine. Shouldn't us young[er], technologically-savvy, electronically-delivered folks be getting science news a little bit faster than the old people get it in their mainstream print magazines?
  • by sexybomber (740588) <boccilino@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @10:49AM (#42250393)

    It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of the arabica bean that the thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking. The shaking becomes a warning. It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion.

  • ... Time to drink tea :p

  • ...pour ... get me uh, you know... uh... another cup ... of uh java... uh coffee...

  • by davidannis (939047) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @01:32PM (#42251975) Homepage
    One study found that you are less likely to die young if you drink wine instead of beer. It's not because beer causes death or because wine wards death off. It is because at the time the study was done the ratio of wine to beer consumption was strongly correlated with income. Having a higher income was positively correlated with adequate nutrition and health care. Just because drinking coffee correlates with something doesn't mean that it causes it.

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