Caffeine consumption associated with lower risk for skin cancer

The “more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to get the most common type of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma.”

For the study, published in the journal Cancer Research, “researchers analyzed data from the famous Nurses’ Health Study on more than 112,000 people,” the CNN “Eatocracy” blog reports. “Investigators found the more someone drank caffeinated coffee, (more than two cups a day) the lower their risk of developing this form of cancer.”

A MyHealthNewsDaily piece posted to the MSNBC “Vitals” blog pointed out, “Women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily were 21 percent less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma , compared with women who drank less than one cup of caffeinated coffee per month, the study showed. For men, this risk reduction was 10 percent.”

“The study also found that caffeinated tea, cola and chocolate also appears to reduce risk,” HealthDay reports. In other words, according to the study’s lead author, “it’s the caffeine that’s most likely responsible for the beneficial effect.”

WebMD points out that the investigators “did not find an association between caffeine intake and risk of squamous cell skin cancer, although animal studies have suggested such a link.”

However, “only 1,953 squamous cell cancers were diagnosed – compared to 22,786 basal cell cancers – so there might not have been enough cases to show a relationship to caffeine intake,” the study’s lead author explained. “With another 10 years of follow-up, though, he and his colleagues might observe a difference in squamous cell cancer risk between the highest and lowest levels of caffeine consumption,” he said.

According to MedPage Today, “Laboratory studies have consistently shown that oral and topical caffeine prevents” squamous cell carcinoma “in mice exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, the authors wrote in their introduction.

Other preclinical studies have suggested a potential mechanistic explanation, as topical caffeine has been shown to induce apoptosis in UV-damaged keratinocytes in mice.”

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