Cup of coffee, tea…protection against skin cancer

The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (PCC), also known as non-melanoma skin cancer. These types of skin cancers have increased enormously in recent years. In addition to preventive measures such as sunscreen and protective clothing, there are indications that certain foods also have a preventive effect against non-melanoma skin cancer.

A very recent study from Singapore examined a relationship between coffee, tea and caffeine in relation to non-melanoma skincancer risk In a cohort study of 63,257 men and women between 45-74 years old in the period of 1993-1998 examined.

It turns out that drinking coffee in ascending order amounts was associated with a reduced risk of non-melanoma skincancer. Those who drink coffee less than once a week, in comparison with those who drank 3 or more cups a day had a reduced risk of both BCC and PCC.

Skin Cancer

Compared to participants who did not drink black tea drank, those who drink black tea daily also had one reduced risk of both BCC and PCC.

Caffeine in black tea and coffee has a protective effect . But also other sources of caffeine such as chocolate and cola associated with a reduced risk of BCC alone. Decaffeinated coffee does not have the protective effect. Another study saw a correlation between hot black tea consumption and PCC reduction, but not iced tea.

How does caffeine protect against skin cancer?

In experimental studies, caffeine stimulates skin tumor cells and also sun-damaged skin cells (keratinocytes) to apoptosis. That is a process in which the cell kills itself, a mechanism of the body to eliminate damaged cells before they can cause more damage.n.


Oh CC, Jin A, Yuan JM, Koh WP. Coffee, tea, caffeine, and risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer in a Chinese population: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019;81(2):395-402.

Song F, Qureshi AA, Han J. Increased caffeine intake is associated with reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma of the skin. Cancer Res. 2012;72(13):3282-9.

While you are here

Make nutrition part of a prevention program. As a dermatologist, I am often asked if there is a connection between diet and a skin condition. We know the relationship between vitamin C deficiency and scurvy, too little iron can cause anemia, nail abnormalities or itching and zinc deficiency can lead to delayed wound healing. In recent years, more studies have been done on skin diseases such as acne, skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and the influence of diet. More on: Nutrition for acne, psoriasis, skin cancer and rosacea


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