Coffee Helps Fight Cancer: High Consumption Reduces Risk Of Melanoma

Dave Edwards

In recent years, coffee has received a bad press.

Urged to limit caffeine intake, many people have reduced their coffee consumption and even turned to decaffeinated coffee in order to improve their health.

But a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has revealed a link between increased coffee consumption and a reduced risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Currently the fifth most common form of cancer in the U.S., melanoma is also the leading cause of deaths related to skin cancer. Around 77,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, and nearly 10,000 of those cases prove to be fatal.

Historically, experts have advised limiting sunbathing and of protecting the skin against UVB rays in order to reduce a person's risk. But there are also factors that may positively influence protecting a person against cancer, and coffee is one the factors now being investigated.

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In the latest study, researchers analyzed the data from over 447,000 cancer-free participants between the ages of 50-71. The data compiled over more than a decade revealed that over 2,900 of the participants developed malignant melanoma and over 1,900 developed another form of less aggressive skin cancer.

In trying to analyze correlations between diet and skin cancer, the researchers found a compelling link between high coffee consumption and reduced risk of malignant melanoma. Indeed, ingesting four cups of coffee per day reduced risk by 20 percent.

The study revealed that coffee is able to mitigate the oxidative stress and reduce inflammation caused by UVB exposure while protecting against DNA mutations in cells. The findings highlighted that the reduced risk of developing the deadly cancer was only realized when consuming four or more cups on a regular basis. Lead researcher Erikka Loftfield believes the study shows promising benefits to drinking coffee, but stops short of advising people to change their caffeine habits.

"The most important thing that individuals can do to reduce their risk of melanoma is to reduce sun and UV radiation exposure. While our results, and some from other recent studies, may be encouraging to coffee drinkers, they do not indicate that individuals should alter their coffee intake."

Although further evidence would be helpful in providing the definitive evidence many will need in order to consider increasing their coffee intake, current coffee lovers can breathe a sigh of relief and grab that extra cup of java.

[Image: Bayfield Coffee Company]