The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Response to Study on Daily Coffee Consumption and Melanoma Risk

New York, NY (January 21, 2015)—A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that daily coffee consumption may protect against malignant melanoma. 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.

Researchers have not yet determined what aspects of coffee made the difference and acknowledged that more research is needed, particularly concerning the relationship between caffeine and melanoma reduction. It is possible that other variables and co-factors can come into play. For example, we may find that people who drink a lot of coffee tend to work indoors, while those who drink less have outdoor jobs, which may increase the risk of malignant melanoma due to an increase in sun exposure.  Since the research is preliminary, the researchers concluded that the most effective way to reduce melanoma risk is to practice safe-sun habits. The Skin Cancer Foundation 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. 

-Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD
Senior Vice President, The Skin Cancer Foundation