The American Association of Cancer Research has concluded a study that shows a relationship between coffee consumption and a lower risk of contracting a common skin cancer. Though the exact mechanism by which coffee helps cells fight cancer is still a mystery, scientists do have a theory. The study found that women who drank over three cups of coffee daily appeared to have 20% less chance of suffering from BCC – basal cell carcinoma – which is a common skin cancer. Men who drank the same amount showed a 9% reduction in risk of contracting the skin cancer. Consuming less than one cup a month (is that possible?) showed no help against the risk.
A lab study (think mice) was also quoted as showing that caffeine consumption is associated with the destruction of cancer cells, in regard to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), but not BCC. So the way in which the caffeine helps against the BCC development is still somewhat confusing. More studies are being done, so it may be awhile before the mystery is solved. However, it does appear that caffeine is involved with the self-destruction of cancerous cells such that the cancer fails to develop. We do see the correlation though, and it’s just another perk from drinking our favorite beverage.
There is more that we can do besides drinking coffee to prevent this cancer. A 2007 study also found that drinking coffee and exercising cut risks down even more – for mice. In this study, hairless mice were given plain water or caffeinated water and some groups exercised while others didn’t. All were exposed to UVB radiation. The exercising, coffee drinking mice had the lowest risk of contracting skin cancer. It still isn’t proven that what’s good for mice in this instance is good for humans Coffee fans will continue to drink coffee anyway, even without all of the studies showing more and more benefits associated with coffee drinking. It just tastes good. Ask a mouse.