How a Cup of Coffee May Help Prevent Skin Cancer
Research has found that increasing the number of caffeinated cups of coffee in your diet could lower your risk of developing the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC). These findings are significant as basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed form of skin cancer in Australia, the United States and Europe. Even though it is slow-growing, it causes considerable morbidity and places a burden on health care systems.
“Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma,” said Jiali Han, Ph.D., associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harvard School of Public Health.
Han and his colleagues gathered their results by conducting a prospective analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a large and long-running study to aid in the investigation of factors influencing women’s health, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, an analogous study for men.
Of the 112,897 participants included in the analyses, 22,786 developed basal cell carcinoma during the more than 20 years of follow-up in the two studies. An association was observed between coffee consumption and a decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma. Similarly, this association was evident in the intake of caffeine from all dietary sources including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate. Decaffeinated coffee however was not associated with a decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma.
“These results really suggest that it is the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma associated with increasing coffee consumption,” said Han. “This would be consistent with published mouse data, which indicate caffeine can block skin tumor formation. However, more studies in different population cohorts and additional mechanistic studies will be needed before we can say this definitively.”
- Fengju Song, Abrar A. Qureshi, and Jiali Han. Increased Caffeine Intake Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma of the Skin. Cancer Res, July 1, 2012 72:3282-3289; http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/72/13/3282
Last Reviewed 11/Mar/2014