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Caffeine consumption may reduce BCC risk


A recent study suggests that modest caffeine consumption may be associated with a significantly lower relative risk of basal cell carcinoma.

A recent study in Cancer Research suggests that modest caffeine consumption may be associated with a significantly lower relative risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

Researchers led by Jilali Han, PhD, of Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, examined data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), which together provided information on caffeine intake for 112,897 participants between 1984 and 2006. Skin cancer risk factors were obtained from questionnaires in both cohorts in the 1980s, and identification was conducted routinely in both groups at 24 years in the NHS and 22 years in the HPFS.

Researchers confirmed 22,786 cases of BCC, 1,953 cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and 741 cases of melanoma. After stratifying study participants into quintiles of daily caffeine consumption, ranging from 31 mg to 604 mg in NHS and 8 mg to 584 mg in the HPFS, the investigators found that people who consumed more than 3 cups of coffee a month had a 17% reduction in the relative risk of BCC versus individuals who drank less than 1 cup per month.

Although caffeine from coffee accounted for nearly 80% of total caffeine intake, caffeine from other sources was also inversely associated with BCC risk. The researchers found no association with caffeine intake and SCC or melanoma.

“Given that nearly one million new cases [of BCC] are diagnosed each year in the U.S., modification in daily dietary factors with even small protective effects may have great public health impact,” the authors wrote.

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