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A new study has revealed that women who drink more than three cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of developing basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a type of skin cancer, than women who drank less than one cup a month.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with nearly one million fresh cases detected every year in the United States.
The study found that men who drank more than three cups of coffee benefited from a 9% decrease in risk of this cancer. Also, they found that drinking decaffeinated coffee did not have any effect on skin cancer risk. This finding which leads researchers to conclude that caffeine is the main ingredient that triggers the effect on skin cancer.
The study does not describe the cause and effect but the association between caffeine consumption and skin cancer is evident. However, there seemed to be no effect of caffeine on the two other types of cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Almost 113,000 adults were surveyed out of which almost 73,000 were women and 40,000 men. The study was conducted over a period of 20 years and more than 25,000 cases of skin cancer were diagnosed.
Head of the study, Fengju Song, a post doctoral fellow in Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School said in an email, "It is likely that caffeine has a protective effect. BCC risk was inversely associated with caffeine."
However, researchers warn that experiments are still under way and that there were other ways to prevent the BCC form of skin cancer like getting screened for cancer and avoiding sunburns.
The findings will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research International Conference in Boston.