A POPULAR drink could slash your risk of a nasty female cancer by 29 per cent, if you drink enough of it.
Endometrial cancer is the most common form of womb cancer in the UK and develops in the lining of the uterus.
Womb cancer is the 4th most common form of cancer in women in the UK, diagnosed 9,700 times every year and leading to 2,400 deaths.
Scientists don’t know what causes the cancer, although there are some risk factors, such as older age and more exposure to the hormone oestrogen.
But there are things women can do to help prevent the disease – and drinking coffee may be one of them.
According to a new study, led by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the hot drink loved by millions may have the power to protect against endometrial cancer.
Researchers analysed 24 studies on coffee intake, involving more than 699,000 people, of whom 9,800 cases of endometrial cancer occurred.
People who drank the most coffee had a 29 per cent lower relative risk of developing endometrial cancer than those who don't drink as much.
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It’s not clear how many cuppas they had per day.
But health experts generally say you should try and limit caffeine to 400mg per day – about four cups of instant coffee.
No link was found between cancer risk and decaffeinated coffee consumption.
The analysis, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, explained several ways a flat white or cappuccino may be protective.
Coffee is a complex mixture of more than 1,000 chemicals.
In its natural form, it contains several chemical components including catechins, caffeine, ferulic, and coumaric acids.
These are all phenolic compounds, which according to the researchers, promote healthy lifestyles by their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Coffee has previously been linked with better weight management as well as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Obesity and having diabetes are two factors that are associated with higher risk of endometrial cancer, according to the NHS.
This analysis showed that women with a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measurement of weight compared to height – were more at risk of endometrial cancer.
Therefore, the researchers said women of higher BMI may benefit more from "increased coffee drinking than those with a lower BMI".
They added: "Coffee consumption is significantly associated with improved insulin sensitivity and improved control of postprandial glycemia in patients with diabetes which has been related to a higher endometrial cancer risk."
The team said concentrations of healthy compounds found in coffee could change based on their brewing method.
However, before this link is confirmed, the researchers explained that more studies will be needed to explore this further.
What's more, the drink has been shown in research to reduce the risk of other cancers, such as liver, and death from other causes.
The authors said: “Further studies with large sample size are needed… to obtain more information regarding the benefits of coffee drinking in relation to the risk of endometrial cancer.”
What are the symptoms of womb cancer?
The most common symptom of womb cancer is abnormal bleeding from the vagina.
The bleeding may start as a light bleed with a watery discharge, which may get heavier over time, according to NHS Choices.
As most women who are diagnosed have been through the menopause, any vaginal bleeding will be unusual.
In women who haven't been through the menopause, periods may be heavier than usual or women may experience bleeding between periods.
The symptoms include:
- abnormal bleeding
- pain in the lower abdomen
- pain during sex
- pain in the back
- loss of appetite
If you are worried about any of these symptoms, you should visit your GP.
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