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Exercise Plus Coffee May Ward Off Skin Cancer

Posted: July 31, 2007

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To find out how different the four groups were in terms of killing off damaged skin cells, the researchers looked at physical changes in those cells. They also looked at chemical markers, such as enzymes, involved in killing damaged cells.

The differences were dramatic. The caffeine drinkers showed a 96 percent increase in damaged cell death compared to the control group and the exercisers showed a 120 percent increase. Even more significant, the mice that drank caffeine and ran on the training wheel had a nearly 400 percent increase in cell death of damaged cells.

Whether this combination would work in people is not known, Conney said, although some research has found that caffeine and exercise does reduce certain cancer risks. He said he would like to do a clinical study in humans next.

More than a million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States annually, according to the American Cancer Society. About 62,190 cases of melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer type, will be diagnosed this year.

A spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation urged caution in interpreting the study findings, however. "It will take years of extensive testing to determine whether this will be a worthwhile concept before you can say anything specific about it," said Dr. Michael Gold, founder of the Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, Tenn.