Coffee Fights Common Skin Cancer
Oct. 24, 2011 -- Drinking coffee may help prevent the most common type of skin cancer.
A new study shows that women who drank more than three cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of developing basal cell carcinoma (BCC) than women who drank less than one cup a month.
Men who drank more than three cups of coffee benefited from a 9% reduction in risk of this type of skin cancer.
Drinking decaffeinated coffee did not have any effect on skin cancer risk, which leads researchers to suspect caffeine is the key ingredient.
"It is likely that caffeine has a protective effect," researcher Fengju Song, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, says in an email. "BCC risk was inversely associated with caffeine."
But before you go out and pour yourself another cup of joe, experts say there are better things you can do to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
"This is yet another study that says there is some benefit in terms of skin cancer for drinking caffeinated beverages,” says Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD, associate professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington. “And if you do so, it is another reason to enjoy them. But it is a pretty small effect compared to known things, like getting a cancer detected and cut out early, avoiding sunburns, etc."