Saturday, October 29, 2011

More evidence that coffee cuts skin cancer

As a conference paper not yet peer-reviewed or published, this is very hard to evaluate. But the fact that only one type of cancer benefits smacks of a data dredging result

MORE evidence that coffee, particularly among female drinkers, has a positive effect against the most common form of skin cancer worldwide has been released.

Women who drank more than three cups per day of caffeinated coffee saw a 20 percent lower risk of getting basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a slow-growing form of cancer, than those who drank less than a cup per month.

Men who drank the same amount saw a nine percent lower risk, said the research presented at the 10th American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in Boston.

"Given the nearly one million new cases of BCC diagnosed each year in the United States, daily dietary factors with even small protective effects may have great public health impact," said researcher Fengju Song, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "Our study indicates that coffee consumption may be an important option to help prevent BCC."

The data was derived from the Nurses' Health Study (Brigham and Women's Hospital) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (Harvard School of Public Health).

The nurses study followed 72,921 participants from June 1984 to June 2008. The health professionals study tracked 39,976 participants from June 1986 to June 2008.

Basal cell carcinoma was the most frequently diagnosed skin cancer in the groups, totalling 22,786 cases.

The benefits of coffee drinking were not seen against the next two most prevalent types - squamous cell carcinoma (1953 cases) or melanoma (741 cases).

Basal cell carcinoma is a non-melanoma form of skin cancer, and is the most common cancer in the United States. Seventy-five percent of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas, according to the American Cancer Society.

It is most common in people with light hair and green or blue eyes, and can manifest itself as a skin sore that bleeds and doesn't heal, though it rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

Previous studies have shown coffee drinkers tend to have fewer incidences of breast, uterine, prostate and colon cancers, but the beneficial effects are not seen in people who drink decaffeinated coffee.


Drinking alcohol ‘improves your chances of surviving a heart attack’


Women who like to have a daily drink, be it a glass of white or a rum and coke, can enjoy it knowing it is helping their hearts, researchers say. A study from Harvard Medical School, found women who drank anything from a few beverages a month to more than three a week lived longer than women who remained tee-total.

The findings, which focused on more than 1,000 women and were published in the American Journal of Cardiology, add to mounting evidence that alcohol can boost heart health.

'One thing that was interesting was that we didn't see differences among different beverage types,' said study leader Joshua Rosenbloom. 'The most recent evidence suggests that it's the alcohol itself that's beneficial.'

The team found women had a similarly reduced risk of dying within the follow up period whether they drank wine, beer or spirits.

One drink a day is a really good target, assuming that a person can be disciplined about that,' commented Dr James O'Keefe, a cardiologist at St. Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Missouri.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,200 women hospitalised for a heart attack. They asked questions about how many alcoholic drinks the women usually consumed, along with other health and lifestyle questions.

After at least 10 years of follow up, the team found that 44 out of every 100 women who had abstained from alcohol had died. This compared to 25 out of every 100 light drinkers and 18 out of every 100 heavy drinkers.

This meant drinkers had a 35 percent lower chance of dying following a heart attack compared to those who didn't touch alcohol.

In an earlier study including men and women, Dr O'Keefe found that people who continued to drink moderately after having a heart attack had better health than those who abstained.

'You don't need to assume that people need to stop drinking once they develop heart disease,' he said. 'The problem is that alcohol is a slippery slope, and while we know that a little bit is good for us, a lot of it is really bad.'


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