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January 22, 2015 | 2 minute read

Study: Coffee Lowers Risk of Deadly Skin Cancer

A new study published this week adds to the emerging evidence linking coffee to lower risk of some cancers, giving coffee lovers another excuse to drink up.Coffee. Coffee Espresso. Cup Of Coffee

This time, researchers found a lower risk of malignant melanoma in older adults with the highest coffee intake. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the U.S. and the deadliest form of skin cancer, but exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) and sunburns are the only key risk factors within your control, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute included nearly 450,000 non-Hispanic white participants. Participants answered questions about their coffee intake and then were followed for an average of 10.5 years to see if they developed a non-invasive melanoma, known as melanoma in situ, or malignant melanoma.

Those with coffee intake of more than 4 cups per day had a 20% lower risk of malignant melanoma compared to non-coffee drinkers. High intake of regular coffee and total caffeine, but not decaffeinated coffee, were also associated with a lower risk of malignant melanoma. There was no link between coffee intake and melanoma in situ.

Coffee drinking was found to lower risk for endometrial cancer in AICR’s latest Continuous Update report. Studies also suggest links between coffee and lower risk of other types of cancer, including colorectal and liver, although the research is not yet conclusive. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that may lower cancer risk, and caffeine itself may play a cancer-protective role.

The study’s authors caution that their results are preliminary and still need to be replicated. Results from some previous studies have found no association.

If you’re not a coffee drinker, you should weigh the risks and benefits of coffee before starting (AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer can help). Still, this study’s results are promising and may help you enjoy your cup of joe without the guilt.

This work was supported in part by the Yale–National Cancer Institute (NCI) and by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute.

4 comments on “Study: Coffee Lowers Risk of Deadly Skin Cancer

  1. Jamye Lane on

    I’m sorry, but my mom drank coffee everyday for 50 years (regular) and she had cervical cancer, skin cancers, a lump in her breast, and it eventually went into her liver.
    My dad drank coffee the same way and he had prostrate cancer.
    They ate plenty of fresh fruits and veg almost everyday. Some were from a garden and some from the store. Both drank diet soda, coffee, tea, fruit juices, water, and milk.
    My mom loved tomatoes.
    I’m sorry, but everytime I read an article about foods preventing cancer, I immediately read to see what I might be able to do differently, and every time I read something, it did not help them.

    • Alice RD on

      Dear Jamye,
      I’m sorry that both of your parents had cancer – your post shows that they certainly did make healthy choices. Unfortunately for any one person, there are no guarantees that making the right choices means that person won’t get cancer. We also use the phrase – lowering your risk – and that, for individuals is a better way to think of it. The term “prevention” speaks to having fewer cancer cases population-wide. We wrote a description of what we mean by Prevention here: http://www.aicr.org/2013/09/13/playing-the-odds-what-we-mean-by-prevention/
      We encourage you to continue to make healthy choices – to lower your risk for not only cancer, but also other chronic diseases.


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