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Daily Coffee May Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk
Date:10/24/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Your morning coffee might do more than jump-start your day. Researchers say that daily caffeine jolt might also reduce your risk of developing a type of 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 that contains even a small protective factor may have great 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 Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"The amount of caffeine consumption was inversely associated with risk," Song said, meaning the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk of skin cancer.

The study could not prove cause-and-effect, however, and at this point the finding remains an association only.

Decaffeinated coffee was not associated with a decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma, and the researchers said any protective effect would likely be because of caffeine, a stimulant. The study authors also expressed surprise that coffee did not reduce the risk of two other types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and the less common but potentially deadly melanoma.

Earlier experiments in mice found caffeine helped reduce the development of squamous cell carcinoma by eliminating cells damaged by ultraviolet radiation, but that effect was not seen in the current study.

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

For the study, Song's team collected data on nearly 113,000 adults -- almost 73,000 women who took part in the U.S. Nurses' Health Study and almost 40,000 men who were part
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