New study indicates coffee lowers risk of malignant melanoma

CoffeeCherriesCoffee has long been known to lower the risk of non-malignant melanoma, but a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that it likely inhibits the risk of non-malignant skin problems developing into malignant cancers.

Malignant melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the United States and a leading cause of skin cancer death.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, if not caught early, skin cancer spreads quickly through the body.

“Coffee contains numerous bioactive compounds and may be associated INVERSELY with (malignant) melanoma,” said Erikka Loftfield, of the National Cancer Institute.

Loftfield’s study team collected data from 447,357 people who participated in the longterm NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The team measured for factors such as ultraviolet radiation exposure, body mass index, physical activity, age and alcohol and tobacco history.

None of the participants had any indications of cancer in the beginning. All participants were requested to continue with their normal lifestyle.

Ten years later, the coffee drinkers had an overall lower risk of malignant melanoma, no matter what the age and other factors, and those who drank four or more cups a day of java had a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma.

Those who drank only  decaffeinated coffee showed no reduction in risk.

Thus, contrary to the claims of some nutritionists, caffeine appears to have a health benefit for some ailments.

Previous studies over the last several years  have shown that coffee drinkers also have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Since the factors considered by the decade-long study did not include food diet and exposure to the numerous pesticides and other environmental pollutions prevalent today, it seems that caffeine may be doing its best to protect the body in part from the new chemical onslaughts it is encountering today.

When coffee first made its way from Africa to the Arab countries to Europe, it slowly traveled around until the first coffee houses opened in London and Paris in the late 1600s. Thereafter, coffee houses became the center of the fashionable, literary, artistic and political classes.

However, religiously inclined groups denounced it as an “insidiously pernicious beverage,” and politicians became worried about political dangers in the free coffee house discussions, and regulated accordingly, as politics has dictated throughout history.

Eventually, however, coffee became the social beverage of choice of some religions and is still forbidden today as a “pernicious beverage” in others.

So there you have the latest. Enjoy your java—or don’t. It’s our choice.

Sources:, 1973 book ‘Folklore and Odysseys of Food and Medicinal Plants’


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