July 2015

Drinking Coffee Linked to Lower Skin Cancer Risk

Drinking high amounts of coffee might reduce skin cancer risk, according to a recent study.

Coffee is a popular source of caffeine. It also contains many other components that are believed to have health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar levels. These components include chlorogenic acid, quinides, lignans, and trigonelline.

In a recent study, researchers analyzed data on 447,357 adults from the National Institutes of Health-AARP study to assess the potential association between coffee intake and skin cancer risk. All of the participants were cancer-free at the beginning of the study. Data on coffee intake was collected through questionnaires.

After an average follow-up period of 10.5 years, 2,904 melanoma cases were identified. Participants who drank at least 4 cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a significantly reduced risk of developing melanoma. Those who drank 4 or more cups of decaffeinated coffee daily also had a reduced risk of developing melanoma; however, these results were not significant.

The authors concluded that high coffee intake, particularly caffeinated coffee, might reduce the risk of developing melanoma. However, this study only suggests a potential association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. Further research is warranted.

For information about coffee, please visit Natural Medicines’ Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for skin cancer prevention, please visit Natural Medicines’ Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Loftfield E, Freedman ND, Graubard BI, et al. Coffee Drinking and Cutaneous Melanoma Risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Jan 20;107(2)

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