Your normal cup of coffee lowers risk of the most common form of skin cancer-basal cell carcinoma, says a new study.
"Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma," said lead author Jiali Han, PhD, associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harvard School of Public Health.
The research was based on the analysis of two large studies- Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
The researchers found that 22,786 out of 112,897 participants included in the analysis, developed basal cell carcinoma during the two decade long studies. Coffee consumption was inversely related, as coffee intake increased skin cancer risk decreased, to the cancer risk. However, decaffeinated coffee was not associated with the cancer risk reduction. Researchers concluded that it is the caffeine that is responsible for reduction in cancer risk.
"These results really suggest that it is the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma associated with increasing coffee consumption. This would be consistent with published mouse data, which indicate caffeine can block skin tumor formation. However, more studies in different population cohorts and additional mechanistic studies will be needed before we can say this definitively," said Han.
There are many conflicting reports on the effects of coffee. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that coffee consumption can’t be linked to risk of heart attacks or stroke while another study says that coffee is positively related to increased risk of heart attack.
However, researchers warn people from making any dietary changes based on this study alone as they say that more studies will be required to test whether coffee consumption can lower skin cancer risk.
"I would not recommend increasing your coffee intake based on these data alone. However, our results add basal cell carcinoma to a list of conditions for which risk is decreased with increasing coffee consumption. This list includes conditions with serious negative health consequences such as type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease," said Han.
"It is possible that these numbers are insufficient for any association with coffee consumption to be seen. As the study participants are followed for a longer time, the number of cases of these conditions is likely to increase. We may be in a position in 10 years' time to better address this issue," said Han.