Just ONE popular drink a day ‘increases risk of liver cancer by 78%’ | The Sun

Drinking just one sugar-sweetened drink such as tea or coffee a day is linked to increased chances of liver cancer, scientists warn. 

The additional risk could be as high as 78 per cent for those with a sweet tooth.

Liver cancer is diagnosed around 6,200 times per year in the UK, making it the 18th most common cancer.

It has a low survival rate, with only 13 per cent alive five or more years after their diagnosis.

The new study analysed data from 90,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the Women's Health Initiative, a long-term study launched in the early 1990s.

Researchers led by the University of South Carolina looked over their health over an average of 18 years, after they had given dietary questionnaires. 

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Around seven per cent of women reported consuming one or more 12-ounce servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day.

A total of 205 women developed liver cancer, of which the symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, feeling sick, pain under the ribs and itchy skin.

Women who guzzled one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily were 78 per cent more likely to develop liver cancer.

Those consuming at least one soft drink per day were 73 per cent more likely to develop liver cancer – compared with those who never had only three per month or none at all.

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Lead author Longgang Zhao, a doctoral candidate, said: "Our findings suggest sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a potential modifiable risk factor for liver cancer.

"If our findings are confirmed, reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption might serve as a public health strategy to reduce liver cancer burden.

"Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water, and non-sugar-sweetened coffee or tea could significantly lower liver cancer risk."

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

More studies would be needed to determine if, and why, sweet drinks may contribute to liver cancer.

But the researchers said that it may be because sugar increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are in turn risk factors for liver cancer.

These beverages also can contribute to insulin resistance and to the build-up of fat in the liver, both of which influence liver health.

The main limitation of the study is that it was observational, meaning the link cannot be certain.

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And it may be some other lifestyle factor, partaken particularly by those who drink sugary drinks, that connects to liver cancer. 

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks such as fizzy pop and fruit drinks has been linked with a variety of health problems.

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