Ah, coffee. You wake us up in the morning, give us the motivation to get through the day, and reduce our risk of skin cancer. Wait… what?
A study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found that consuming six or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer by 30%. This study was conducted on caucasian women and was primarily focused on assessing the relationship between coffee consumption and the development of non-melanoma skin cancer.
A separate, more broad study concluded that consuming caffeinated coffee also appears to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Surprisingly, both studies found that there was no reduction in skin cancer risk when subjects drank decaffeinated coffee. This suggests that it is the caffeine found in coffee that has the greatest impact on the development of skin cancer.
“We estimate that 400,000 skin cancers are prevented annually by drinking caffeinated coffee in the U.S.,” says Masaoki Kawasumi, M.D., Ph.D., a UW Medicine skin cancer researcher.
This apparent inverse relationship between caffeine consumption and skin cancer risk is great news, especially for us coffee lovers who binge caffeine daily.
However, the reduction in risk from drinking caffeinated beverages is minimal compared to the reduction in risk associated with getting regular skin check-ups and wearing proper sun protection.
The bottom line is that although coffee can help reduce your risk of skin cancer, there is no substitute for staying sun-safe and regularly seeing a certified dermatologist.