Coffee, Favorite Drink of Seniors, Provides Protection from Basal Cell Carcinoma
Women get almost twice as much protection as men among 3-cup a day drinkers - see video
A senior, Karen Teaser, shares her story on You Tube of how she was diagnosed and treated
at Mayo Clinic in Arizona for a basal cell carcinoma. Also, she offers tips on how to protect yourself against skin cancer. See video
Oct. 26, 2011 – Anytime caffeine is found to have a positive effect on health, it is good news for senior citizens –
coffee is by far the favorite drink of older Americans. The latest good news comes from a large study finding that drinking coffee provides
protection from basal cell carcinoma (BCC).
The less than exciting news is that caffeine does not appear to offer the same protection from squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
or the more deadly melanoma.
“Given the nearly 1 million new cases of BCC diagnosed each year in the United States, daily dietary factors with even
small protective effects may have great public health impact,” said researcher Fengju Song, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department of
dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
“Our study indicates that coffee consumption may be an important option to help prevent BCC.”
The study was presented at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, Oct. 22-25.
Data were taken from the Nurses’ Health Study (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study
(Harvard School of Public Health). In the Nurses’ Health Study, 72,921 participants were followed from June 1984 to June 2008.
In the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 39,976 participants were followed from June 1986 to June 2008.
The researchers reported 25,480 incident skin cancer cases. Of those, 22,786 were BCC, 1,953 were SCC, and 741 were
Women benefit the most from coffee
Song and colleagues reported that women who consumed more than three cups of coffee per day had a 20 percent reduction in
risk for BCC, and men who consumed more than three cups per day had a nine percent risk reduction compared with people who consumed less than
one cup per month.
The amount of coffee consumption was inversely associated with BCC risk. Those in the highest quintile had the lowest
risk, with an 18 percent reduction for women and a 13 percent reduction for men.
Song and colleagues were surprised by the inverse connection in BCC cases only.
Animal studies have suggested an association between coffee intake and skin cancer risk, but epidemiologic studies have
not conclusively shown the same results, they said.
“Mouse studies have shown that oral or topical caffeine promotes elimination of UV-damaged keratinocytes via apoptosis
(programmed cell death) and markedly reduces subsequent SCC development,” Song said.
“However, in our cohort analysis, we did not find any inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk for
Song said that additional studies specifically addressing the association between coffee consumption and BCC and the
mechanism behind this association are warranted.
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