PISCATAWAY, NJ (CBS) – New research out of Rutgers University shows drinking coffee may reduce the risk of skin cancer caused by the sun.

Dr. Allan Conney has been studying the link between caffeine and skin cancer for 10 years. He says drinking coffee or making a topical cream out of caffeine can kill cells that have been badly damaged by ultraviolet light.

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“The epidemiology studies indicate that for each cup of coffee you drink there’s about a 5 percent decrease in the risk of sunlight induced skin cancer,” Dr. Conney said. “So, if one drank three cups of coffee a day, you would have about a 15 percent decreased risk of skin cancer.”

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The work was conducted by researchers at Rutger’s School of Pharmacy and the University of Washington. The National Cancer Institute says more than one million cases of skin cancer caused by sun exposure are diagnosed each year.

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Reported by Kim Glovas, KYW Newsradio 1060