Coffee and Skin Cancer?

Basal cell carcinoma risks inversely associated to coffee consumption

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) If you're not satisfied with one measly cup of java, but prefer four or more, you may be doing your skin a huge favor. Yes, you could be protecting yourself from one of the most common forms of cancer.

A recent prospective study finds drinking large amounts of coffee is associated with a diminished risk for basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer.

"Drinking coffee is associated with lower risks of skin cancer."

Researchers analyzed data taken from the Nurses’ Health Study (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (Harvard School of Public Health).

Researchers followed 72,291 participants enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study from June 1984 to June 2008. And the 39,976 participants enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study were tracked from June 1986 to June 2008.

The study was conducted by  Fengju Song, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues.

Researchers found that women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent reduced risk of BCC and men who drank the same quantity, had a nine percent decreased risk compared to people who drank less than one cup of coffee per month.

And the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk. Women who drank the most had the lowest risk, realizing an 18 percent decreased risk and men had a 13 percent reduction.

According to Song, these findings were surprising. Previous animal studies had suggested a link between coffee consumption and skin cancer risk.

More study evaluating the exact nature of these findings is warranted, Song says.

This research was presented at the 10th American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

Study findings are considered preliminary before they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 24, 2011
Last Updated:
October 25, 2011