Good news for coffee drinkers: researchers from Italy have shown that coffee consumption reduces the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. And some of the results indicate that if you drink three cups a day, the risks are reduced by more than 50%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that liver cancer is the ninth leading cause of cancer deaths in the US and the third leading cause of death from cancer in the world.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of this cancer and men are approximately three times more likely to develop the disease than women.

The results of the study, published in Clinical Gastronenterology and Hepatology, reaffirm previous findings that coffee drinking does have health benefits.

In just this year, Medical News Today has covered reports that coffee may protect against womb cancer, prostate cancer, and even how drinking Greek coffee may be the key to longevity.

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A cup of hot coffee may not just get you going in the morning, it may actually help prevent liver cancer.

And as The National Coffee Association’s 2010 National coffee drinking survey reveals, 56% of American adults may have something to celebrate as they sip their morning cup.

Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, from Milan’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri and lead author of the study, says:

“Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health and particularly the liver.”

For this study, researchers performed a meta-analysis using data collected from articles published between 1996 and 2012. From this, researchers selected 16 high-quality studies involving a total of 3,153 cases.

Even though the results across studies, time periods and populations have returned consistent results, researchers cannot “prove” a cause and effect relation between drinking coffee and HCC. This may be because patients suffering liver or digestive diseases often reduce their coffee intake, and this may be partially attributable to the relationship.

Dr. La Vecchia explains:

It remains unclear whether coffee drinking has an additional role in liver cancer prevention. But, in any case, such a role would be limited as compared to what is achievable through the current measures.”

Coffee drinking has been shown to reduce the risks of diabetes, as a report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows.

And diabetes is a known risk factor of liver cancer – indeed, the National Cancer Institute cites it as the most common risk factor.

Dr. La Vecchia adds:

The favorable effect of coffee on liver cancer might be mediated by coffee’s proven prevention of diabetes, a known risk factor for the disease, or for its beneficial effects on cirrhosis and liver enzymes.”

The researchers also say that more than 90% of primary liver cancers worldwide can be avoided through hepatitis B virus vaccination, control of hepatitis C virus transmission and reduction of alcohol drinking.