Previous studies have suggested that coffee consumption offers a protective effect against non-melanoma skin cancers. For the present study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Yale School of Public Health at Yale University sought to determine an association, if any, between coffee consumption and the risk of melanoma skin cancer.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, which occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Damage from ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds most often causes melanoma skin cancer. The skin cancer kills an estimated 9,710 individuals in the United States annually.
The researchers led by Erikka Loftfield, of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute assessed data involving n447,357 non-Hispanic white participants who were free of cancer at the beginning of the study from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, which included coffee consumption, at the beginning of the study.
The researchers then followed the participants for an average of 10.5 years. Of the total participants, 2,905 developed melanoma skin cancer.
However, according to the study, as caffeinated coffee consumption increased, melanoma decreased. For example, drinking four cups of caffeinate coffee a day reduced the risk of melanoma by 20 percent.
The results remained consistent even after the researchers accounted for confounding factors such as age, sex, body mass index (BMI), alcohol intake, smoking history. and ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.
The researchers do note that the protective benefits of coffee against melanoma skin cancer occurred only among participants who consumed caffeinated coffee. Decaffeinated coffee does not appear to provide the same reduction in risk.
Comment the researchers on the findings:
“Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study. Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted.”
Another recent study found that experiencing five or more blistering sunburns before the age of 20 increases the risk of melanoma by up to 80 percent.
Coffee Drinking and Cutaneous Melanoma Risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/107/2/dju421.abstract
Coffee May Be Associated With a Lower Risk of Malignant Melanoma: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/107/2/djv013.full
Four Cups of Coffee a Day Linked to 20% Reduced Melanoma Risk: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288316.php
Cup of Black Coffee: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1119734