a science-based resource on coffee, caffeine, and health

Coffee and Cancer

Coffee's possible link to lower cancer risk is the subject of extensive scientific research, with over 1,000 studies on the topic.


Coffee once had a reputation as an unhealthy vice as a result of flawed research methods (not accounting, for instance, for complicating factors such as cigarette smoking). 


Since then, larger and more well-designed studies suggest the opposite: Coffee consumption may reduce the risk of some cancers. (The American Institute for Cancer Research recently added coffee to its list of Foods That Fight Cancer.) In fact - when it comes to coffee and health, the bottom line is that coffee drinkers live longer


Cancer is a complex disease. While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of coffee, some scientists suggest that the antioxidants found in coffee may help to reduce inflammation.


The following research and meta-analyses highlight the link between coffee and some cancers:


Findings from three separate meta-analyses suggest that an increased consumption of coffee may reduce the risk of liver cancer.

People who drank more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day were about half as likely to die from oral/pharyngeal cancer as people who drank coffee only occasionally or not at all, according to a 2012 study by the American Cancer Society.

At least three cups of caffeinated coffee a day appear to protect against basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, according to a recent study.

Research suggests that the consumption of caffeinated coffee and tea may reduce the risk of adult brain tumors (glioma), but further research is warranted.

A 2015 meta-analysis concluded that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, particularly amongst European populations.

The majority of available research suggests that coffee consumption is linked to a lower risk of endometrial cancer, although some data differs and requires further investigation. One large cohort study found a 25% reduced risk of endometrial cancer among coffee drinkers, compared with non-drinkers, and a reduction in risk of over 30% among heavy coffee drinkers.

A meta-analysis of cohort studies concluded that coffee consumption may lower pancreatic cancer risk.

Controversial results of the association between coffee consumption and bladder cancer (BC) risk were reported among epidemiological studies.