On Wednesday, June 15, an expert panel formed by the World Health Organization concluded that regularly drinking coffee could protect against liver and womb cancer. This decision comes after decades of research into the many health benefits of coffee. The panel also confirmed that there is not a sufficient amount of evidence that the beverage might cause any other type of cancer.
The 1991 decision that drinking coffee was linked to bladder cancer was also reversed by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The new conclusions come after a recent evaluation of over 500 studies on the relationship between cancer and the consumption of several different types of hot beverages such as coffee, tea and the popular South American herbal drink, maté.
Regarding cancers of the pancreas, female breast and prostate, the IARC team discovered that coffee drinking had no carcinogenic effect. There was not enough evidence for any conclusion to be made for over 20 other cancers.
President of the National Coffee Association (NCA) Bill Murray said, "This finding is great news and highly significant for coffee drinkers and confirms evidence from an avalanche of studies by highly respected and independent scientists."
A link was found by the report between throat (oesophagael) cancer and drinking very hot drinks.
Director of IARC Dr. Christopher Wild said, "These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible."
Tea and coffee drinkers are advised by the scientist who did the report, to allow their hot beverages to cool down before consumption, especially if cold milk isn’t added.
Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, said, "This new research, which shows that drinking very hot drinks can increase the risk of oesophageal cancer, is very interesting.
Our own research analysis found similar evidence for people drinking the South American herbal tea, mate, scalding hot through a metal straw. It is therefore not surprising that this is seen to be reflected in other beverages that are drunk at very high temperatures. We will be carrying out further research analysis into hot beverages in the future.
To all the tea lovers out there, these new findings don't mean that you can no longer enjoy hot drinks. It is the very hot temperatures that have been identified as a cancer risk and so, when drinking tea or other hot drinks, just let it cool down for a few minutes especially if you're not adding any milk."