What you may have heard
Coffee consumption can increase your risk of cancer.
What science tells us
Coffee drinking is not a cause of breast, pancreatic, or prostate cancer and may even reduce the risk of endometrial, head and neck, colorectal, and liver cancers (ACS) . There is also evidence that drinking coffee is linked to lower risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (ACS). Several epidemiological studies have shown that coffee consumption does not increase cancer risk (Zhao).
Laboratory Evidence/Supporting Evidence
Much of the concern about coffee consumption and cancer comes from the fact that coffee can contain a chemical called acrylamide, which is formed during the roasting process. Acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in animals exposed to very high doses (ACS). Acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in animals exposed to very high doses, These studies have concluded that coffee consumption does not cause cancer in mice (IARC).
IARC Carcinogen Classification: Group 3 (Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans)
How to reduce your risk
There appear to be health benefits to drinking coffee. If you are worried about acrylamide exposure, you could reduce and limit the amount of food you eat that is cooked at high temperatures (during frying, roasting, and baking) for longer periods of time (ACS).
Coffee drinking is linked with a lower risk of endometrial, head and neck, colorectal, and liver cancers. Coffee drinking may also reduce the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Learn More From These Trusted Sources
American Cancer Society (ACS): Coffee and cancer
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR): Coffee and cancer
Published: June 24, 2021
Verified/updated: August 22, 2022