Research now shows that coffee prevents skin cancers. “Multiple human epidemiologic studies link caffeinated beverage intake with significant decreases in several types of cancer. This includes the highly prevalent UV-associated skin carcinomas,” said authors of a study published recently. (August 2011) The study, released in 2011, was funded by the National Institute of Health in the USA.
Size of the study
This was a substantial study, conducted over a period of 20 years, by the Department of Dermatology at Brigham Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. 113,000 adults were involved in the study that consisted of 73,000 women and 40,000 men. The group was followed over a 20 years period and checked for skin cancer. Of the 25,000 skin cancers found in the group, 23,000 skin cancers were basal cell carcinomas, 741 melanomas and 2,000 squamous cell cancers.
How much coffee prevents skin cancers?
However what created news around the world was that the results indicate that ‘caffeine significantly reduces the risk of basal cell carcinoma’. Strangely enough, however, coffee did not effect the other two forms of skin cancers – the squamous cell carcinoma and melanomas.
Women who drank 3 cups of coffee a day had a 20% lower risk of basal cell carcinoma, compared to women who only drank coffee once a month. For men who had high coffee intake the risk was reduced 13%.
Coffee’s role in this is not yet understood, however it may be used professionally in the future to prevent non-melanoma skin cancer.
So coffee prevents skin cancers, but it can not be relied on its own for protection from UV damage so make sure you use other strategies.
There are arguments for and against coffee as a healthy drink…. but that we might leave for another blog