Coffee May Decrease Risk of Malignant Melanoma

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According to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers from the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics have found that drinking coffee may decrease a person's risk for developing malignant melanoma.

Prior studies have shown that coffee consumption may reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, but data on its protective effect for cutaneous melanoma was lacking. Therefore, researchers sought to investigate if there is an association between coffee consumption and cutaneous melanoma (malignant and in situ).

Researchers identified over 447,000 non-Hispanic white subjects from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. In that study, participants were surveyed about their food-frequency habits between 1995 and 1996 with a median follow-up of 10 years.

At baseline, all participants were cancer-free, and researchers adjusted for various risk factors, such as UV radiation exposure, age, alcohol intake, sex, smoking history, age, physical activity, and body mass index. Results showed that those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of melanoma.

In addition, researchers found that the protective benefits increased the more coffee a person drank, but only when the coffee was caffeinated and only for malignant melanoma. The researchers note that the further studies are warranted to confirm the results, and the findings may not be applicable to other populations.

Coffee Reduces Risk of Oral/Pharyngeal Cancer Death
Drinking coffee may decrease a person's risk for developing malignant melanoma.
To determine if there is an association between coffee consumption and risk of cutaneous melanoma, Erikka Loftfield, M.P.H., of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, and colleagues used data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
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