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Coffee Skin Cancer

October 28, 2011 by staff 

Coffee Skin Cancer, Your morning coffee may do more than kick-start your day. Researchers say that daily caffeine jolt may also reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with nearly one million new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. A diet containing even a small protective factor can have a major public health impact, the researchers said.

“Our study indicates that coffee consumption may be an important option to help prevent basal cell carcinoma,” said lead researcher Fengju song, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Medical School Harvard in Boston.

The amount of caffeine intake was inversely associated with risk, “said Song, ie coffee consumption, the lower the risk of skin cancer.

The study could not prove cause and effect, however, and at this point the conclusion is a single association.

Decaffeinated coffee was not associated with a reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma, and investigators said that any protective effect was likely due to caffeine, a stimulant. The authors also expressed surprise that coffee reduces the risk of two types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, less common but potentially deadly.

Early experiments in mice found caffeine helps reduce the development of squamous cell carcinoma by eliminating cells damaged by UV radiation, but this effect was not observed in the current study.

The results were scheduled for presentation Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research International Conference in Boston.

For the study, Song’s team collected data on almost 113,000 adults – nearly 73,000 women who participated in the Study of Health in the U.S. Nurses and nearly 40,000 men who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

For over 20 years of follow up, more than 25,000 cases of skin cancer were diagnosed among men and women in the studies. Of these, about 23,000 were basal cell carcinoma, about 2,000 were squamous cell cancer and melanoma were 741.

The researchers found that women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing basal cell carcinoma compared with women who drank less than one cup of coffee in a month.

For men, the risk was 9 percent less than those who drank three cups of coffee per day compared with those who drank less than one cup a month, the group said Song.

The risk for women who drank more coffee fell by 18 percent for men who shot down most of the coffee, the risk was reduced by 13 percent, Song’s team found.

Additional studies exploring the mechanism behind this association are needed, said Song. People who spend time in the sun are more likely than others to develop skin cancer, but the role of coffee in prevention is still not understood.

Dr. Robert S. Kirsner, professor and vice chair of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said the findings “could open a new path of development of chemo-prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer.”

However, Kirsner advises not to start drinking coffee just to prevent skin cancer.

Although basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal, can be consequences of treatment, including disfigurement, especially if one takes into account, he said.

Because it is so common, the cost of treating basal cell carcinomas is “huge,” he said. Prevention of funding would affect overall health.

In addition, some evidence suggests that having a skin cancer causes other cancers more likely, Kirsner said. “The most obvious are other skin cancers, but no skin cancers, such as lymphoma or testicular cancer.

“The question is, is just by chance, or is a shared risk factor or is it something that basal cell carcinoma induces more likely for cancers to develop?” said.

“The prevention of basal cell carcinoma may have other benefits than just the prevention of cancer,” Kirsner said.

Research presented at the meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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