Researchers from the Yale University School of Public Health learned that the risk of developing malignant melanoma decreased with every cup people swallow. Four cups of coffee a day already reduced the risk of melanoma by 20 percent, researchers reported.
The study was published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Previous studies have also shown that coffee was linked to a lower risk of developing milder forms of skin cancer. Apparently, caffeine was reducing the damage ultraviolet rays were inflicting on skin cells.
Yale scientists wanted to learn whether the protection was also against melanoma. In the U.S., melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer and the deadliest of the skin cancers. As a background info, the study reported that nearly 10,000 people die of melanoma every year, while other 77,000 people are diagnosed with it.
For their study, the Yale team analyzed data collected by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and AARP during a food questionnaire sent to 3.5 million AARP members.
During the survey, nearly 447,400 white seniors were questioned about their coffee drinking habits. The respondents were later followed up for about a decade on average.
No participant was diagnosed with skin cancer when first filling the questionnaire. Researchers found that those drinking coffee on a daily basis displayed a lower risk of melanoma than those who drank less to no coffee at all.
The results were adjusted for other factors that may lead to melanoma, including body mass index, sex, age, smoking, alcohol drinking and physical activity.
The study showed that people who drank one to three cups of coffee per day were 10 percent less likely of developing melanoma than those who didn’t drink at all.
Additionally, participants drinking more than 4 cups of coffee per day had their risk of melanoma lowered by 20 percent.
However, study authors underlined that their research only revealed a link between coffee consumption and reduced melanoma risk, rather than a cause and effect relationship.
Erikka Loftfield, lead author of the study, added that only people drinking caffeinated coffee experienced a decrease in melanoma risk. However, decaf coffee requires further research because most of the study participants drank caffeinated coffee.
Still, Ms. Loftfield recommends that people shouldn’t only rely on coffee and stop using sunblock, long sleeves and other means of solar protection.
Image Source: FitneAss