Skin cancer coffee is not — I repeat, is not — a new flavor of java over at Starbucks. I know those three words may get your taste buds tingling, but I can assure you that such a thing does not exist. Okay, well, maybe it does somewhere, but it’s not here, and it’s definitely not right now. However, given the number of face-eating, dog-devouring freaks currently making the rounds, it might be an untapped market.
All kidding aside, a recent study has shown that caffeine may, in fact, reduce your risk of skin cancer. That’s right — all of those people who made fun of you for pounding cup after cup of cheap, off-brand black coffee are at a greater risk of developing basal cell carcinoma than you are right now. It’s not just coffee fanatics, either. Copious consumers of tea and cola are also lowering their risk of getting skin cancer. That guy over there gnawing on his third Snickers bar? He’s lowering his chances, as well.
Based on data from the study, women were 21 percent less likely to develop skin cancer if they knocked back three cups of coffee per day. Men, meanwhile, were only 10 percent less likely to get basal cell carcinoma. However, doctors warn that just because you’ve increased the amount of caffeine in your diet doesn’t mean you can increase the amount of time you spend basking in the glow of the sun. Nice try, though.
“I would hope that people would not decide to spend a lot more time in the sun because they are drinking coffee,” explained Lorelei Mucci,, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. She added, “There is a lot more about the prevention of BCC that we need to understand.”
Before you stock up on an endless supply of coffee beans, lead author Jiali Han, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, offered up a word of warning. “There are lots of compounds in the coffee, including antioxidants. The process of decaffeination can wash out other compounds in the coffee, so we cannot 100 percent tease out that caffeine is the only factor responsible for the effect.”
It’s also worth noting that the study is not conclusive, as only shows an association between caffeine and skin cancer.