MINNEAPOLIS (CBS) — A new study shows the more coffee you drink, the lower your risk of developing the most common type of skin cancer.

The study, which appeared in the journal Cancer Research, shows that increasing the amount of coffee you drink could lower your chances of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. The study looked at nearly 113,000 men and women over 20 years and found the more caffeinated coffee people drank, the lower their risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

But doctors say coffee won’t protect you from the deadliest skin cancers.

“There is no protection against squamaous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which is the most deadly form of skin cancer,” said Dr. Kevin Cooper, the chairman of the dermatology department at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Researchers say it’s probably the caffeine in coffee that lowers risk. Previous animal studies have suggested caffeine can block skin tumors from forming.

Close to 3 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Experts say the findings are interesting, but they don’t want people loading up on coffee or throwing out their sunscreen.

“The main concern I have is that people don’t think about this: that oh if I drink a lot of coffee then I don’t have to worry about protecting myself in the sun, that just isn’t the case,” Cooper said. “You really need to protect yourself in
the sun.”

Doctors say the best way to protect against skin cancer is to avoid midday sun, wear protective clothes and apply sunscreen often.

The research also found that caffeine from other sources, like tea, soda and chocolate, may also decrease basal cell cancer risk.


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