LOS ANGELES, Calif. (CBS) -- Good news for coffee lovers! A new study suggests the more coffee you drink, the lower your risk of developing the most common type of skin cancer.
Janet Higgins can't start her day without coffee, lots of it. She says, "One or two cups at home then I stop on the way to work."
Gloria Edwards perks up with even more. She says, "I drink probably six cups a day."
Now a new study shows increasing the amount of coffee you drink could lower your chances of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. The study in the journal Cancer Research looked at nearly 113,000 men and women over 20 years and found the more caffeinated coffee people drank, the lower their risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
Dr. Kevin Cooper, chairman of Department of Dermatology at UH Case Medical Center says, "This did not extend to the more serious kinds of skin cancer such as squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma."
Researchers say it's probably the caffeine in coffee that lowers risk. Previous animal studies suggest caffeine can block skin tumors from forming.
Close to 3 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Experts say the findings are interesting, but they don't want people loading up on coffee or throwing out their sunscreen. Cooper says, "If I drink a lot of coffee then I don't have to worry about protecting myself in the sun; that just isn't the case. You really need to protect yourself."
That's what Bennett Wright is doing now; she's been battling skin cancer for two decades. Wright says, "Now I stay out of the sun."
Doctors say the best way to protect against skin cancer is to avoid midday sun, wear protective clothes and apply sunscreen often.
The research also found that caffeine from other sources, like tea, soda and chocolate, may also decrease basal cell cancer risk.