Dec. 12, 2012 -- Heavy coffee drinkers -- those who drink more than four cups a day -- may cut their risk of dying from cancers of the mouth and throat by nearly half, according to new research.
"We examined coffee drinking habits in nearly 1 million men and women," says Janet Hildebrand, MPH, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society.
"Those who reported drinking at least four cups per day of caffeinated coffee incurred about half the risk of dying from mouth and throat cancers compared to people who did not drink caffeinated coffee daily or only drank it occasionally."
That link held even when the researchers took into account smoking habits and alcohol use.
Smoking and alcohol use are among the strongest risk factors for oral cancers.
About 35,000 new cases of oral cancers are expected in the U.S. this year, with 6,800 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. The new study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Previous research by others has linked drinking more than four cups of coffee a day to about the same risk reduction in getting a diagnosis of oral cancer.