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Could Drinking Coffee Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk?

First Posted: Apr 06, 2015 12:38 AM EDT
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New findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute show that drinking coffee, along with its other health benefits, could help to reduce the risk of developing melanoma.

Findings revealed that coffee consumption had a protective effect against non-melanoma skin cancers. However, researchers found that the protective effect against cutaneous melanoma (malignant and in situ) was not quite as clear.

For the study, researchers collected data from over 447,000 men who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants were asked to complete a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire in 1995/1996, along with a median follow-up of 10 years.

At the beginning of the study, all participants were cancer-free. However, the study authors adjusted information for ambient residential ultraviolet radiation exposure, body mass index (BMI), age, sex, physical activity, smoking history and school intake.

Overall, findings showed that the highest intake of coffee was inversely linked to a lowered risk of malignant melanoma, at a 20 percent lower risk when compared to those who consumed just 4 cups per day more.

Furthermore, there was also a trend toward more protection with higher intake and the protective effect increased from 1 or fewer cups to 4 more. Yet the effect was statistically significant for caffeinated but not decaffeinated coffee and only for protection against malignant melanoma and not melanoma in-situ. 

Though the results are only preliminary and require further investigation, researchers believe that certain lifestyle modifications can help to protect against melanoma risk.

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