Caffeine Could Cut Skin Cancer Risk, Study Says

by Chris Curley on July 6, 2012

Basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer

Drinking three or more cups of coffee per day (or its caffeine equivalent) could cut your risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer by 20 percent, ABC News reported July 2.

While the cancer, called basal cell carcinoma, is not usually fatal, it does cost patients and the healthcare system millions of dollars per year, says researcher Jiali Han, Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health.

Josh Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, explains how everyone’s favorite latte alkaloid might work to protect your skin.

“Caffeine may help the body kill off damaged skin cells,” Zeichner says. “If you get rid of these cells that are damaged, then they don’t have the opportunity to grow and form cancers.”

This isn’t the first study linking caffeine consumption to cancer prevention. Previous studies have shown cancer may protect against other non-melanoma skin cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and endometrial cancer, as well.

The study appears online in the journal Cancer Research.

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