Three or more alcoholic drinks a day can cause liver cancer, according to an international panel that includes a Seattle researcher. Now some good news: Drinking coffee lowers the cancer risk.
A Seattle researcher is part of an international panel that has determined exactly how much alcohol it takes to cause liver cancer.
It turns out three drinks a day is the tipping point — but drinking coffee might actually protect people from the disease that accounts for about 746,000 deaths in the world each year.
That’s according to the World Cancer Research Fund International, which on Wednesday released an analysis of global studies on the probable causes of and preventions for liver cancer.
Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is among the group of scientists who considered nearly three dozen studies from around the world. The studies included 8.2 million adults and analyzed 24,500 cases of liver cancer.
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“The finding provides the clearest indication to date of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer,” McTiernan’s group said in a statement.
The panel found strong evidence that consuming more that 45 grams a day of alcohol — about three drinks — is a “convincing cause” of liver cancer. Drinking at least a cup of coffee a day decreased the risk, the panel found.
Overall, the group also suggested there is strong evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk of the disease. Consuming foods contaminated by aflatoxins, a kind of mold, also increases the risk. Aflatoxins can contaminate improperly stored food in warm climates and may include cereals, spices, peanuts, chilies, black pepper and dried fruit.
To prevent liver cancer, people should maintain a healthy weight and limit alcohol, if it’s consumed at all, to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink for women, according to the study.