A cup of joe in the morning may not only be a kick starter for the day but also an aid in the fight against cancer. Researchers are finding that drinking coffee regularly may reduce the risk for malignant melanomas - one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

The study was conducted by scientists from the U.S. government's health research department. They followed over 450 thousand men and women with an average age of 63 for over a decade. At the end of the study, 3,000 of the subjects were diagnosed with cancer but among those who drank caffeinated coffee, 90 percent of them were cancer-free.

According to the study which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on Jan. 20, the people who drank four or more cups of coffee in a day were 20 percent less likely to develop malignant melanoma than those who were not regular coffee drinkers.

"'Our study is the largest to date to evaluate this relationship' between melanoma and coffee drinking," said study researcher, Erikka Loftfield from the National Cancer Institute.

The people involved in the study were primarily drinkers of caffeinated coffee, so more study will be need to see if the statistics will also ring true for those who regularly consume decaf.

Melanoma, or skin cancer, is one of the most prevalent, and deadly forms of the disease. It is said that a person dies from melanoma every 57 minutes. Although the study shows a promising link for coffee to help prevent skin cancer, the best form of protection is still to wear protective clothing and sunscreen against UV rays and radiation.

Seems like great news for those who already drink their morning pick-me-up, but more research is still needed to see what component in the coffee or caffeine impacts skin cancer, and a more in-depth look into the sun exposure and sunscreen habits of the participants will be needed in order to make a more comprehensive analysis.

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