Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Coffee may protect against malignant melanoma

"A small cup of coffee" by Julius Schorzman - Own work.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 
CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 20, 2015 – Could coffee protect against the most lethal type of skin cancer? A new population study shows that it may.

In a large study of 447,347 non-Hispanic white people who filled out dietary questionnaires in 1995 and 1996, researchers led by Erikka Loftfield, MPH of the National Cancer Institute, found that those with the highest intake of caffeinated coffee had a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The results appear in today’s JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 

After 10 years of follow-up, there were 2,904 cases of malignant melanoma. When they analyzed the data, they found that the more caffeinated coffee people drank the lower the risk of malignant melanoma, with those who drank four or more cups a day having a 20 percent lower risk. There was a 10 percent lower risk of melanoma among those who consumed the least amount of caffeine per day. The same effect was not found for decaffeinated coffee, or for melanoma in situ, which is the earliest stage of the disease.

The researchers cautioned that these results require more study with more diverse populations to determine whether there is such a protective effect for anyone who drinks coffee. 

“Our findings, which suggest that consuming four or more cups per day may decrease risk of melanoma by 20 percent, are preliminary and require replication. Whether our findings are applicable to other populations is unclear,” they concluded.

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