A new study suggests that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day could reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by almost a fifth in women. That is huge news, considering that endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs.
According to CBS News, the study examined the data of over 456,000 women from two large ongoing studies. The researchers were most interested in looking at the dietary habits of the women. What they discovered was that women who consumed three to four cups of coffee everyday had an 18 percent lower rate of endometrial cancer. One researcher from the study, Melissa Merritt, says that the results were not at all surprising.
“We were not surprised by the results that a high versus low intake of coffee was associated with a reduced risk for endometrial cancer, because they were consistent with what has been observed in previous studies.”
How are researchers certain that the decrease in endometrial cancer was from the coffee and not other dietary habits of the participants? The researchers say they evaluated 84 foods and nutrients, and none of them had any consistent association with a decrease in endometrial cancer except for coffee. Medical News Daily notes that the conclusion was made by evaluating the dietary questionnaires fill out by 1,303 women with endometrial cancer who were a part of the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. From this questionnaire, the team identified nine foods and nutrients that could be associated with risk of endometrial cancer: total fat, monounsaturated fat, phosphorus, carbohydrates, yogurt, butter, potatoes, cheese and coffee.
The researchers then compared those results with those of 1,531 women with endometrial cancer who were a part of the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) or Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). Researchers say the only consistent factor for reduced endometrial cancer risk in both sets of studies was coffee.
“The researchers found that drinking three cups of coffee a day reduced endometrial cancer risk by 19% among women in the EPIC study, compared with women who drank less than one cup of coffee a day. Among women in the NHS/NHSII cohorts, drinking four cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of endometrial cancer by 18%, compared with those who never drank coffee.”
Why does coffee lower the risk of this specific type of cancer? Researchers honestly have no idea. All they know is that there is an association between drinking coffee and a lowered risk of endometrial cancer. However, one theory behind the lowered risk has to do with hormone levels.
“One possibility is that coffee reduces estrogen levels in the body, changing the balance of hormones.”
This isn’t the first study to link coffee consumption with a lowered cancer risk. Another study found that drinking coffee can lower your risk of skin cancer.
How many cups of coffee a day do you drink?