Coffee could cut skin cancer risk
July 2nd, 2012
07:52 AM ET

Coffee could cut skin cancer risk

Good news, java junkies: Researchers have found the more coffee you drink, the more you may be protecting yourself against skin cancer.

According to a new report published in the journal Cancer Research, drinking more caffeinated coffee could lower your chances of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.

Researchers analyzed data from the famous Nurses' Health Study on more than 112,000 people. One fourth of those studied had developed basal cell carcinoma over a 20 year period. Investigators found the more someone drank caffeinated coffee, (more than two cups a day) the lower their risk of developing this form of cancer.

Scientists noted caffeine seemed to be key factor, because tea, cola and chocolate, all of which contain caffeine also seemed to cut a person's risk.

Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing skin cancer. Although it is not as serious as melanoma, it can still lead to permanent damage or death if not treated.

Doctors say this doesn't mean people should be drinking coffee by the gallons.

"I would not recommend increasing your coffee intake based on these data alone," Jiali Han, an associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harvard School of Public Health, and an author with the study.

"However,” she continued, “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."

Researchers also noted that this is just the first step; more research is needed to better understand why caffeine cuts someone's risk of developing this form of skin cancer.

soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Reason & Logic

    This news must be weighed with the risk of increased blood pressure that caffeine causes. It would be ludicrous to drink coffee to prevent oneself from getting slow developing cancer, type two diabetes, and Parkinson's disease but then get a sudden stroke, heart attack, or arteriosclerosis, because of one's elevated BP.

    July 2, 2012 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gerald R Vimont

      the increase in BP is only temporary

      July 2, 2012 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • carolae

      How gullible do these people think we are.....coffee can stop the growth of skin cancer!!! I have a few friends that have had skin cancer and they never drank coffee before....don't like it. So, what does that tell you? All of the stories about taking this or not eating a certain food is nothing but propaganda with no substance. The only "substance" here is what they are taking.

      July 2, 2012 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
    • TonyInNYC

      @carolae ~ Did you study 112,000 people over a 20-year period or are you speaking anecdotally?

      July 2, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Jellybean

      "! I have a few friends that have had skin cancer and they never drank coffee before." Did you even read the article? If you did, you'd realize this statement makes the article's point. I suspect you weren't trying to do that.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • L C B

      Hey 'Jellybean' – perhaps 'carolae' suffers from dyslexia? as it appears her comment shows that she understood the article backwards?

      July 2, 2012 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • Ernie

      It appears that carolae is not very smart.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • PushingBack

      Carolae – "I have a few friends that have had skin cancer and they never drank coffee before....don't like it. So, what does that tell you?" Well, that tells me the article might be right! Thanks for helping to prove the case.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      Coffee has more antioxidents than Green Tea and cuts the risk of diabetes by 42%! I love my coffee and will continue to drink it!

      July 2, 2012 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • steveyboy

      coffee causes blood pressure to rise, increases anxiety, drains your adrenal glands, stains your teeth, causes ulcers, depletes serotonin, and is terrible for your liver. people are so stupid, it gives you a jolt of energy for 40 minutes in the morning, and then you feel like sh$t for the rest of the day. its not good for you at all. this study was probably funded by that dunkin donuts or that dude with the donkey on the side of the folgers bin

      July 2, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
  2. ionymous

    Coffee "could" cut skin cancer risk. Also, coffee "could" increase skin cancer risk. This story or the opposite has been running for the 20 years I've been reading news.
    Also, there's a chance of rain today. duh!

    July 2, 2012 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annie

      I guess this year's fashion is that coffee cuts skin cancer and sunblock increases skin cancer. I wonder what is going to be next year? 🙂

      July 2, 2012 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
  3. Highly Motivated

    Coffee causes acid reflux disease. Quitting coffee can save you serious money on Tums and Prilosec.

    July 2, 2012 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hanadi

      I just bhugot one 3 I just bhugot one 3 days ago. Came with a different filter, and it makes a great cup of coffee. Way better than one we had before. The filter makes a huge difference if you have hard water. I like the fact that you can take the filter holder out, clean that bad-bitty up, while cleaning the filter and have a fresh pot every time. It looks like the filter you pulled out of there was used .

      October 11, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  4. Carla Vazq

    Doctors say this doesn't mean people should be drinking coffee by the gallons.


    July 2, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nagrad

    As with everything in life, moderation is the key.

    July 2, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rich

      You watch to much Fox News.

      July 2, 2012 at 08:57 | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Sorry... that comment was for Jack.

      July 2, 2012 at 08:59 | Report abuse |
    • hez316

      Including moderation?

      July 2, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
  6. jack

    I heard the Demicrats want to tax coffee for the caffeine it has.

    July 2, 2012 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rich

      You watch too much Fox News.

      July 2, 2012 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • Church of Suicidal

      And you believe everything you hear. "I heard they're gonna have death panels. I heard vaccination causes retardation. I heard Obama wasn't born here. No facts, no proof, but I heard it."

      July 2, 2012 at 10:03 | Report abuse |
    • TonyInNYC

      Your comment looks like it has troll fingerprints on it. Sorry, but the people on this board have probably had a couple of cups of coffee and are just too sharp right now to take your silly bait.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
  7. jack


    July 2, 2012 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. alanzipkin

    Perhaps all you have to do is sit in a Starbucks all day instead of being out in the sun.

    July 2, 2012 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. I hate you - haha

    I didnt realize Starbucks made coffee – i thought it was just a place for fatties to stay out of the sun while freeloading internet access.

    July 2, 2012 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wskislak

      Nah, you mean McDonald's, which by the way has the best, the hottest, and their Internet service is well worth the stop. And besides, try not finding a McDonald's. Most of the time you can just visit your friendly WalMart.

      July 2, 2012 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
    • casinopete

      Starbucks doesn't make coffee. They make a bitter, overpriced iquid of some kind, but its not coffee.

      July 2, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
  10. Henry Michael Mensah

    COFFEE intake is said not to be good due to its numerous health implications but here we are being informed that it can reduce the chances of getting cancer,so then what is the way forward in using Coffee as a daily beverage.anyone to throw more insight on this matter will be appreciated.

    July 2, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • brad-ash

      Actually, the majority of studies have shown benefit from Moderate coffee drinking (about 1-2 cups per day). This includes a recent study showing a benefit toward heart disease. Of course over-indulging in anything is not wise.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
  11. XO

    Starbucks funded story

    July 2, 2012 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dentate

    This type of retrospective study can only identify associations, and cannot prove cause and effect. That would require a controlled, prospective, randomized study. The purpose of studies like this one is to identify associations that may be worth further investigation. Caffeine may be the cause of the effect, or people who use caffeine may have other habits or characteristics that cause them to have less skin cancer. And like any other drug, food, etc., there is always the possibility of side effects and cures that are worse than the disease. It seems that Dr Han, quoted in the article, properly urged caution. It is unfortunate that CNN does not explain more carefully what the findings mean. But going for the flashy headline sells ads.

    July 2, 2012 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bh

      Thank you for your well spoken explanation of how scientific research is conducted.

      July 3, 2012 at 07:53 | Report abuse |
  13. virgop

    Paid for and Approved by – Starbucks and Nestle!

    July 2, 2012 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. virgop

    paid for and approved by Starbucks and Nestle

    July 2, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ben

    Once again, no mention of who bankrolled the "study". Coffee Brewers Association maybe? Many times, these so-called health studies turn out to be nothing more than thinly veiled commercials. What is a study going to find? That the product of the sponsor is bad for you? Just like video news releases (VNRs) that are produced by commercial sponsors and star local news anchor people passing it off as a real news story when it's nothing but a commercial.

    July 2, 2012 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Terry

    Well, I drink six to eight cups of coffee everyday and have done so for forty-years. I have had skin cancer surgery and countless laser treatments for skin cancer. All-in-all, clinical research is nothing more than a "make-work" project for research assistants working on their Masters or Ph.D., and of course for the doctors who need to keep those people working. This reminds me of the French Wine Study and the impact of wine drinking on coronary artery disease. As the report was being prepared for the American Heart Association, Welch's Grape Juice introduced a White Paper claiming the same impact for those drinking the company's grape juice. I am guessing that Columbian Coffee Producers are behind this latest revelation. As for Starbucks, I see a price increase in their future.

    July 2, 2012 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • brad-ash

      While important to you, your own anecdotal story is just that. Science, especially biological science, is full of variation. Significant results are amost never 100% one way or the other. A study claiming this correlation between coffee consumption and low rates of skin cancer never claims that the correlation is 1 (100%). So your own experience does not disprove the norm. By the way, thats a LOT of coffee. Many of the studies showing a benefit of moderate drinking (1-2 cups/day) show adverse affects for heavy drinking. Be careful!!

      July 2, 2012 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
  17. Tim

    This study brought to you courtesy of Juan Valdez.

    July 2, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Chedar

    The Coffee coming from Civet dropping is more potent in preventing skin cancer but it cost $400 a kilo

    July 2, 2012 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kenzo

      MMMMmmmm....Civet Dropping Blend....good to the last drop(ping)!!!

      July 2, 2012 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
  19. earthshoes44

    Based on these studies I'm going to live forever. 🙂

    July 2, 2012 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. A coffee a day keeps the cancer away

    With the price of coffee being what it is, it would have been nice to have been a member of the test group for this study.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Matt

    RE: carolae

    How gullible do these people think we are.....coffee can stop the growth of skin cancer!!! I have a few friends that have had skin cancer and they never drank coffee before....don't like it.

    DId you read this? It says coffee could stop cancer. You said the opposite- that your friends never drank coffee and got skin cancer- DUH!!!

    July 2, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annie

      Don't mind her, she did not have her cup of coffee yet! 🙂

      July 2, 2012 at 23:57 | Report abuse |
  22. gpbritus

    Unless the cure revolves around rubbing coffee into your skin rather than drinking it, I would respectfully suggest that staying out of the sun and tanning booths would have FAR more beneficial effect for most people!!!

    July 2, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annie

      How about vitamin D? For us who like to get it in natural way.

      July 2, 2012 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
  23. Mike G

    Maybe it's the time spent drinking coffee is the time not spent sitting in the sun.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Amanda Feaser

    Finally something good about drinking coffee!

    July 2, 2012 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Larry

    Wanna know how coffee cuts skin cancer risk?

    Coffee is hot (duh!) and increases your core body temperature by about 0.5 F on average (depending on temperature of the beverage and the amount consumed). This increase in core body temp is enough to make people subconsciously avoid going outside in the sun and heat, therefore reducing the risk of skin cancer.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SigniAdler

      coffee is good I love coffee. and I loved your comment!!!!!!

      July 2, 2012 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • Kenzo

      Hey, does coffee ice cream work too? I loves it! Or maybe only applied topically.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
  26. .


    Did you even bother to read the story? You just proved it's point.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. J

    Legitimate Science and Journalism never use the word "Could."

    July 2, 2012 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Fifi

    If most of the UV damage we get (that is, the exposure that contributes to increased likelihood of developing skin cancer) is in childhood, how does coffee/caffeine consumption helps stave off one form of skin cancer? Does it help to stop or reverse the genetic degeneration AFTER the exposure?

    July 2, 2012 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emilio

      The hospital that I wrekod in actually approved these T-shirts as acceptable uniform wear with scrub pants On the front left pocket was the hospital logo and on the back was the phrase E.R. Some watch it We live it . An administration that really got it!!!GD Star Ratingloading...

      October 11, 2012 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
  29. serdich

    Using McDonald bathrooms also cuts the risk down...

    July 2, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Hope

    Correlation and Causation are not the same thing.

    All this study seems to say is that people who drink more coffee are less likely to have skin cancer. Like, I don't know, maybe people who drink more coffee spend more time at work and less time sunbathing?

    Let me go see what's up with Katie Homes, that's the real reason I'm here.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JRO

    It is amazing how willing people are to talk without having much information whatsoever. Coffee is actually extremely high in antioxidant compounds, more than any other food or beverage in the American diet. Green, unroasted coffee is now being used in age-fighting cosmetics because of the high antioxidant content. Drinking coffee as a roasted, brewed beverage does appear to benefit your health in numerous ways, and the latest research shows that it actually protects the heart from arterial hypertension.

    Now, it is important to drink GOOD quality coffee. Cheap grade coffee is often made with unripe fruit, or contains a certain amount of the Robusta varietal, which will make people feel jittery or experience even palpitations. A high quality, Arabic coffee, picked ripe does not cause acid reflux, jitters or palpitations. But, it is protective against Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, and now even skin cancer. Works well as a mild stimulant for ADHD as well. As always, however, you get what you pay for, and if you buy coffee on the cheap, then you get cheap coffee. Things done well cost a little more.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JRO

      (that was supposed to say "Arabica" not "Arabic" !)

      July 2, 2012 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
  32. ronny_s

    How about a study to figure out if vitamins work or not? For the last 50 years I've been reading on labels "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA." Isn't it about time that the FDA start working and actually evaluate these statements?

    July 2, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. dawn

    Maybe this would explain why my husband does not have skin cancer. I thought he should have it for sure, being that his skin is very fair, lots of time spend in the desert as well as here in the states under the blazing sun and a family history of skin cancer. He chugs down the coffee like it's going out of style. His check-up turned up nothing except normal age spots. Of course he has never had a bruise in his life either (despite constant injuries) so he could just have freak of nature skin.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Gloria

    If you drink coffee you will poop.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mr Twitch

    I also heard DRINKING COFFEE can make you rich, make your penis (and boobs) larger, Make you better looking and happier, better your golf game. what if you are a Mormon-sorry

    July 2, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. jerry

    The caffiene content has nothing to do with it's cancer fighting properties. The anti oxidants in coffee are the hero's in coffee, dark berries, tomatoes, yellow fruits,berries etc
    Extensive world wide studies have shown coffee reduces the cancer prevelance in internal organs also..
    Caffiene is a medically unassociated ingredient that gives people the impedus to say extremely uninformed things on this and other comment blogs.
    Most people who read and reply to these blogs are stupid, except for me...I am a retired "Doctor of Caffeine"

    July 2, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    You people just don't get it, so I'm not going to help you. The article has given you hints and you still don't get it.

    July 2, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Dan

    If one thing don't get you, another will. P.S amazing the Republicans have not already taxed caffeine. They over tax everything else.

    July 2, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Aud

    So is it the coffee or the caffeine? Shouldn't the headline read "caffeinated drinks?"

    July 2, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Curmodgeon

    My father, born and raised on a cattle ranch, drank 6-8 cups of coffee a day from the age of 5 until his death at 78–from complications due to Parkinson's. However, he did spend nearly his entire working life outdoors in the sun (including many years in the Philippines) as a Civil Engineer and was as the saying goes "as brown as a berry." Heavily tanned, he never developed skin cancer because he never suffered a sunburn, the major cause of skin cancer.

    Wait a few years and another study will arise purporting to show a statistical ink between the drinking of coffee and the occurrence of skin cancer. Wait a few more years and a study will dispute the previous one, ad infinitum .

    July 2, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. mj

    Just had Basal Cell Carcinoma removed from my face 6 weeks ago. Drink coffee every day. Can't say it helped me.

    July 2, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. freshies420

    Coffee is just good all around for everything, it is the lifeblood that fuels dreams of champions.

    July 2, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Haggus

    I mainline coffee, but one thing coffee can't do is cure me of male pattern baldness. I leave that to that miracle food, bacon. Hmm....bacon...coffee....coffee infused bacon ya!

    July 2, 2012 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Richard

    This "research" is nonsense. I'm a heavy coffee drinker and I've had two basal cell skin cancers removed. I was never much of a sunbather but I did get them from prolonged sun exposure driving cars in the desert. My father was also a heavy coffee drinker and he had skin cancer in the same spots. Coffee won't protect you from heredity and prolonged sun exposure.

    July 2, 2012 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. eroteme

    O Happy Day! 'Researchers' have found something new to 'research'. Or could this be something old they have 'researched'. Who cares. Stand by for the next breathtaking 'rresearch' by 'researchers'. (Probsably tomorrow.)

    July 2, 2012 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Annie

    Probably, coffee makes people hyper and they can't stay too long toasting on the sun!

    July 3, 2012 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. ArabianCoffees

    Been seeing a lot good news stories about coffee and health recently. Think it all stems from the study which concluded that coffee lowers "death risk". Drink up!

    July 3, 2012 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RM

    And coffee makes pigs fly too...

    July 3, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Way Funny

    Getting a real high reading the comments. Too bad they haven't invented Coffee Scented SPF Suntan Oil

    July 3, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Unconvinced

    Tired of all the health studies, quit reading them. Like coffee, drink it. Like wine, drink it. Like blueberries, eat them. 90 percent psychological benefit and the other half is physical benefits. I feel great and healthy after drinking coffee and wine!

    July 30, 2012 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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