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Caffeine may reduce risk of skin cancer: report

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Could caffeinated drinks like Red Bull help prevent skin cancer? (Holly Ramer/AP)

Drinking more than two cups of coffee per day, or any other combination of caffeinated beverages, may lower your chances of developing skin cancer, a new reports says. The results included other caffeinated products such as soda, tea and chocolate.

The report in the journal Cancer Research found that caffeine potentially reduced the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer though generally considered less serious than melanoma.

"Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma," said Jiali Han, Ph.D., associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harvard School of Public Health.

[Related: Seven myths about caffeine]

In their report, researchers analyzed statistical data from more than 112,000 people who had participated in the most recent Nurses' Health Study. More than 238,000 individuals have participated in the organization's studies, which began in 1976. Cancer prevention is a primary focus. The research for this study indicated that the more a person consumed caffeine, the less likely he or she was to develop basal cell carcinoma.

However, that doesn't mean Han and the other researchers are suggesting people start drinking unlimited amounts of their favorite lattes.

"I would not recommend increasing your coffee intake based on these data alone," Han said.

"However, our results add basal cell carcinoma to a list of conditions for which risk is decreased with increasing coffee consumption. This list includes conditions with serious negative health consequences such as type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease."

[Related: Five signs you've had too much caffeine]

Although caffeine can be addictive, its properties have been directly linked to a number of other health benefits, including improved mental and physical performance. Some studies have also linked caffeine consumption to lowering the risk of liver cirrhosis.

In related news, medical doctors in New Zealand recently linked a woman's death to her excessive consumption of Coca-Cola. And  in February, it was reported that the inventor of the 5-Hour Energy drink is a Buddhist monk.

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