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Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
Date:2/26/2009

creen and it deletes damaged cells," he said. "It may well make sense to put it into a sunscreen preparation."

Dr. Robin Ashinoff, a dermatologist and clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University's Langone Medical Center, thinks these findings need to be verified before they can have any clinical application.

"This study tells me that caffeine may be a useful ingredient topically to remove ultraviolet-genetically damaged cells from reproducing," Ashinoff said. "This may help prevent the development of skin cancer."

"It is interesting that caffeine, which is thought to have a negative connotation, has already been shown to be associated with lower incidences of non-melanoma skin cancers in several epidemiological studies," she added.

Dr. Albert Lefkovits, a spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation and an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, doesn't think it's been proven that caffeine reduces the risk of skin cancer.

"While this is an interesting concept that has been explored before, it will take years of extensive testing to determine whether this will be a worthwhile prevention method," Lefkovits said.

"And, the study doesn't discuss how much caffeine would be needed for any real benefit," he said. "For instance, many people drink large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis and still get skin cancer. Protecting yourself from the sun is currently the only proven way to prevent skin cancer."

More information

To learn more about skin cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.



SOURCES: Paul Nghiem, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology, University of Washington, Seattle; Robin Ashinoff, M.D., dermatologist and clinical associate professor, dermatology, New York University Langone
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