University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository




Elyse Watkins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, NCMP


Skin cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer in the United States and worldwide. It has become the most common type of cancer worldwide as a result of environmental exposure and medical treatments. The incidence of skin cancer is higher than that of all other cancers (breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers) combined. Statistically, one in five people in the US will develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime, and that one person will die from melanoma every hour of the day. Risk factors associated with skin cancer include sun exposure duration, latitude of residence, diet, genetics, skin tone, frequency of tanning, and lack of use of protection such as sunscreen. Certain habits, such as smoking and alcohol, increase the probability of skin cancer as well. Skin cancers can generally be divided into melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). NMSC include basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). Treatments for skin cancer include surgical excision, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and biologic therapy. Since skin cancer is such a prevalent disease worldwide and many of the risk factors are difficult to avoid, it is important to investigate whether any dietary habits would influence the probabilities of getting skin cancer. This article will focus on the effects of coffee on skin cancer, with an emphasis on the effects of one major component - caffeine.

Previous research has demonstrated that coffee may have anti-cancer properties in non-skin cancer studies. Some studies have suggested that caffeine may lower oral, colon, and liver cancer. In other studies, caffeine was shown to cause the apoptosis of UV-damaged cells. In other research, it has been noted that tea drinkers have lower incidence and prevalence of skin cancers. Chocolate was also found to have some protective effect in lowering the risk of cancers. The common denominator for all these foods is caffeine. Due to this, it is proposed that coffee drinking could possibly lower the risk of certain skin cancers. This review will investigate coffee drinking and the risk of melanoma.


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