Americans are one of the world’s biggest lovers of coffee. In fact, the nation consumes more than any other country, according to the Huffington Post, which reports that United States citizens drink 400 million cups of coffee on a daily basis, adding up to 146 billion cups annually. That number might explain why the United States doesn’t hold the number one slot in another ranking: instances of melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers.
A new study reports that those who partake in multiple cups of coffee a day have a lower risk for melanoma. Their conclusion about the skin cancer-coffee link came from a study featuring 447,357 white subjects. While all participants did not suffer from cancer when the trial period began, over 10.5 years, 2,905 eventually fell victim to melanoma, according to study published in the Oxford Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Even when accounting for other cancer-causing factors like cigarette smoking and high alcoholic intake, drinking a cup of coffee was shown nearly across the board to be a common daily ritual for those who did not develop skin cancer. The study also seemed to show that heavy coffee drinkers (four or more cups a day) had a 20 percent lower risk of malignant melanoma. That finding did not, however, carry over to melanoma in situ, “which may indicate different disease etiologies or an inhibitory role of coffee consumption in disease progression.”
Although researchers did say their study seemed to illustrate that coffee had an influence on the occurrence of melanoma, they were also careful not to paint coffee as a miracle cure against skin cancer. Traditional means of protecting yourself again the disease are still more viable than trying to drown it in espresso.
“Lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity… The most important thing that individuals can do to reduce their risk of melanoma is to reduce sun and UV radiation exposure.”
The study also noted that similar research projects on the link between cancer and coffee had not shown exactly the same results.
“While our finding for total coffee intake and malignant melanoma appears robust, there is little consensus among epidemiological studies. With small case numbers, earlier studies had low power for detecting modest associations. In a prospective study of Norwegians, coffee intake was statistically significantly inversely associated with malignant melanoma in women but not in men.”
Whether or not coffee helps prevent the disease, melanoma killed an estimated 9,500 people in 2013, said the study. Overall, it is the fifth most common form of cancer.
[Image via Flickr]