Coffee May Reduce Risk of Melanoma
Study suggests that the more you drink, the lower the risk of skin cancer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2015 2:39 PM CST
Coffee consumption is linked to a decreased risk of melanoma.   (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

(Newser) – Heavy coffee drinkers who worry about their habit can at least bear this in mind: They have a lower risk of getting skin cancer, according to a large-scale study. Researchers found that people who downed four cups a day have a 20% lower risk of developing malignant melanoma, which CBS News notes is the fifth most common cause of cancer in the US and the deadliest form of skin cancer. The study crunched data from 447,000 adults who were tracked over 10 years. The more coffee they drank, the less likely they were to develop melanoma.

The scientists from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the Yale School of Public Health emphasize that this "modest" decrease in risk obviously doesn't mean coffee drinkers can skip the sunblock, reports the LA Times. The study shows only a link, not a cause-and-effect, and researchers can't say for sure what's going on. But the findings generally didn't apply to decaf drinkers, so one theory is that caffeine plays some role in the protection, reports LiveScience. (Those who find coffee bitter might try it in a white mug.)