Do you start your day with a cup of coffee? Most Americans do have this ritual and there is good news for them. This common habit might actually be helpful to people in a particular way.

Fox news reports on how a cup of coffee a day can possibly keep skin cancer away.

Surveys show that more than half of all American adults start off their morning with at least one cup of coffee. The majority of these people said they drink coffee to wake up and simply get through the day. However, new research adds to the evidence that coffee can have benefits that extend beyond you getting through your day; it can help protect you against developing skin cancer.

This new study found that coffee helps reduce the risk of developing the most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. Research that was conducted in the past showed that coffee might help prevent other types of non-melanoma skin cancers. This is the first wide range study to look particularly at malignant melanoma, which is the fifth most common cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of skin cancer fatalities.

How was the study conducted?

Experts analyzed information from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study on more than 447,000 non-Hispanic whites, who are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Study participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits (including coffee drinking) and were followed-up after around ten years. The experts adjusted their findings for other factors that might influence skin cancer rates, including ultraviolet radiation exposure, body mass index, alcohol consumption and more.

The results of this new study are considered encouraging for coffee drinkers. Researchers found a 20 percent decreased risk for malignant melanoma for those who drink four or more cups of coffee per day, compared to those who do not drink coffee.

Fox explains why this information is so important,

“Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells— most often caused by ultraviolet radiation— triggers mutations. Skin cells rapidly multiply and form malignant tumors originating in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis.  One person dies of melanoma every 57 minutes, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation and one in 50 people will be diagnosed in their lifetime.”

The significant effect was only on those who drank caffeinated coffee, not decaffeinated coffee. But the results do not mean that anyone should drink excess coffee or alter their coffee intake.

What else did the researchers find?

“Researchers also studied whether coffee had protection for melanoma in situ, stage 0 or noninvasive melanoma that may or may not progress to invasive melanoma. They did not find any protection,” according to Fox.

Since previous studies had reported similar associations between coffee drinking and melanoma, the researchers said they were not surprised by the results. Experts say that this is also further reassurance that coffee drinkers should not be worried about whether this habit is risky.

Coffee drinking may also have other benefits, prevention of: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, depression and liver disease. Experts say this is probably because of coffee’s antioxidant properties.

Gerry Oginski
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