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Caffeine And Skin Cancer?

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES


With the hot weather and blazing sun of summer just about to leave us, the threat of skin cancer still continues to grow.

In fact, annually there are over two million people diagnosed with all forms of skin cancer.

The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, is diagnosed in at least 2.8 million people per year.  This type of cancer is not fatal but, if left untreated, can leave the skin disfigured.

The second most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. It is diagnosed in at least 700,000 people per year, resulting in roughly 2,500 deaths.

In some animal studies, there is increased evidence that caffeine consumption could prevent squamous skin cancer development.

However, there is very little research regarding the consumption of caffeine and skin cancer risk.

Now, however, a new study published in Cancer Research, could potentially show a link between increased coffee consumption and a lower risk for skin cancer development.

Let me explain…

Skin Cancer and Caffeine

Skin cancer, which is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world today, affects millions of people worldwide.

The most common cause of skin cancer development is exposure to ultraviolet rays.

As previously mentioned, in some animal trials, administration of caffeine was shown to prevent squamous cell skin cancer development.

The authors of this study aimed to determine if caffeine intake was associated with a reduced risk for the development of different forms of skin cancer.

They assessed data obtained from the Nurses’ and Health Professionals' Follow-Study for information on skin cancer and caffeine intake.

The data showed 22,786 cases of basal cell carcinoma, 1,953 cases of squamous cell carcinoma, and 741 cases of melanoma.

The researchers showed that caffeine consumption from all sources (coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate) was inversely related to cancer risk.

They also showed that people with the highest intake of caffeine showed a lower risk, compared to people with the lowest intake of caffeine.

When it came to drinking caffeinated coffee, the researchers showed that people who drank three cups of coffee per day, showed a lower risk for developing skin cancer than people who only drank one cup of coffee per month.

Their work also showed that decaffeinated coffee was not associated with the same decrease in basal cell carcinoma compared to the caffeinated coffee.

On another note, they noted that caffeinated coffee was not associated with a lower risk for squamous cells carcinoma or melanoma.

From their work, they concluded that caffeine intake in both men and women, is inversely associated with a reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma.

Although this research is very new and does show promise, more research is needed to verify the results of their findings.  However, it does show promise for caffeine consumption and a reduced risk for skin cancer.

Caffeine and Your Health

Caffeine, which has been shown to improve performance and alertness, is used as a way to wake people up in the morning.

However, caffeine has many more benefits than just waking you up in the morning.

Caffeine has been shown to stimulate your central nervous system, which could keep you more alert, but could also stimulate weight loss.

Now, however, this study could provide new insight into the role caffeine plays in skin cancer risk.

According to this study, the higher your intake of caffeine may lower your risk for developing different forms of skin cancer.

So go ahead, enjoy that cup of coffee, tea, or piece of dark chocolate (but don’t overdo it!).  Your body and your health could benefit from it.



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References:

Song, F.  Qureshi, A.  Ha, J.  Increased Caffeine Intake Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma of the Skin.  Cancer Res. 2012. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3511.