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A cup (or four) a day helps keep the cancer away?

Feb 11, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
A study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that daily coffee consumption may protect against malignant melanoma. The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) tells us that researchers analyzed data from 447,357 non-Hispanic white subjects, from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, and found a 20 percent lower risk for malignant melanoma for those who consumed four or more cups per day—compared to those who did not drink coffee.

The SCF explains that researchers have not yet determined what aspect of coffee made the difference and acknowledged more research is needed—particularly concerning the relationship between caffeine and melanoma reduction. It is possible, Deborah S. Sarnoff, M.D. of the SCF speculates, that other variables and co-factors can come into play. For example, they may find that people who drink a lot of coffee tend to work indoors, while those who drink less have outdoor jobs. (We wonder if those who drink four or more cups of coffee a day may just be too jumpy to sit still in the sun.)

Since the findings are preliminary, the researchers concluded that the most effective way to reduce melanoma risk is to practice safe-sun habits. The SCF supports this conclusion and recommends adopting a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use.

--Sarah Hagerty
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