Coffee and Skin cancer

Last Update : 2020/09/26 14:52:39
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Radiation Oncology cancerdoctor

Hello, I am @cancerdoctor, a radiation oncologist in South Korea.

I had worked in Seoul National University Hospital in Korea, and I am working for public health now.

I am here in order to provide several important note regarding cancer.

One of my friends, who is dermatologist, read my article, COFFEE AND CANCER, commented that there is several ongoing researches investigating effects of coffee on skin cancer. Accordingly, I am going to introduce the relationship between coffee and skin cancer.


Some epidemiological studies reported that people who intake coffee or tea have decreased risk of ultraviolet (UV)-related skin cancer. In a large study of over 90,000 women, people who comsumed caffeinated coffee everyday was dose-dependently associated with a 5% reduction of the risk of skin cancers. However, there was no effect of decaffeinated coffee.

1. Caffeine is important.

This cancer-protective effect of coffee may be caused by caffeine. Caffeine inhibits an enzyme called ATR, which has an important role in survial of cells damaged by UV rays. Therefore, potentially carcinogenic cells can be eliminated by inhibiting ATR. For this reasons, caffeinated drinks are effective, but decaffeinated drinks are not.

2. Suncream is also important.

Although coffee has protective effect against cancer, it cannot prevent skin cancer completely. In United States, the prevelance of melanoma is especially high in California, and this may be due to high exposure of sunlight. Suncream is essential for prevention of skin cancer.

3. Only a cup or two of coffee may not be effective.

In order to get this benefit of coffee fully, it must be ingested and be in the blood before sun exposure. Also, as the dose-response relationship between coffee and skin cancer was suggested, you need to drink a lot to prevent skin cancers. The significant effect appeared when drunk six cups or more a day.

4. Caffeine cream?

There were several researchers developing caffeine cream. Since indigested caffeine may not act effectively against UV rays, a suncream containing caffeine can be protect more effectively against skin cancers.

These are good news for me who enjoy surfing and coffee. Then, let's make the most of today with a cup of coffee.


  1. Abel EL, et al. Daily coffee consumption and prevalence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in Caucasian women. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2007;16:446-452.


  3. Masaoki Kawasumi, et al. Protection from UV-induced skin carcinogenesis by genetic inhibition of the ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) kinase. PNAS. 2011;108(33)13716-13721.


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