Skin Cancer Coffee: Study Shows Caffeine May Reduce RiskJuly 6th, 2012 | Posted by in Cancer | Illness | Men | Prevention | Skin Cancer | Women
Recent studies have shown that at least three cups of non-decaf coffee a day may provide protection again the most common form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. Women who consumed more than three cups of coffee a day were 21 percent less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma while males drinking the same amount of coffee were 10 percent less likely to develop that particular type of skin cancer.
Lead author of the study, Jiali Han, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, says, “Most likely, the protective effect is due to caffeine.” People in the study who drank decaffeinated coffee did not appear to have a lower risk of developing the skin cancer.
One thing researchers recommend is that people should not increase their sun exposure because they drink more coffee and are seemingly protected. They should still abide by the rules of applying and re-applying sunscreen during times in the outdoors.
“I would hope that people would not decide to spend a lot more time in the sun because they are drinking coffee,” said Lorelei Mucci, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study. “There is a lot more about the prevention of BCC that we need to understand,” Mucci said.
The study gathered data from 113,000 health care professionals and nurses to form its pool of participants. Over the 20-year study, 22,786 participants developed basal cell carcinoma, while 1,953 developed squamous cell carcinoma and 741 participants developed melanoma.
Researchers found that the helpful effects of caffeine were also seen in those who consumed chocolate, tea or caffeinated sodas. Coffee just happens to be the drink whereby the majority (78.5%) of study participants received their caffeine doses.
Interestingly enough, the caffeine did not seem to have an effect on the deadliest form of cancer, melanoma. Nor did it seem to effect those who developed squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Researchers like Han are quick to point out that this might be attributed to the fact that there were not many case of those types of cancers reported, so the true effect of caffeinated coffee on them is still unknown.
Han said, “In another 10 years or more, it may be clearer whether caffeine also helps stave off these other types of skin cancer.”