Six cups a day can cut the threat by around 30 per cent.
The benefits are only seen with caffeinated coffee – decaffeinated does not have the same impact, according to scientists in America.
They found that while just over 10 per cent of women who never drank coffee got skin cancer, among those downing six cups or more a day the figure was just 6.7 per cent.
Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit studied the coffee-drinking habits of more than 90,000 women aged 50 to 79 taking part in a major health survey.
They matched up coffee consumption with the number of women diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma – a mild cancer that occurs on the face or neck and is rarely life-threatening.
Dr Earnest Abel who led the study, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, said: “Daily consumption of six or more cups of caffeinated coffee was associated with a decrease in prevalence of 31 per cent.
“But decaffeinated coffee or tea, on the other hand, was not linked with any fall.”
One theory is that caffeine has an antioxidant effect that protects skin cells against the damage that triggers growth of cancer.
Other US research suggests coffee and exercise together kills off skin cells damaged by ultraviolet rays from the sun. If allowed to survive, these cells can go on to produce malignant skin cancers.
And coffee can also reduce the risk of liver cancer, a 10-year Japanese study found. Drinking more coffee produced greater benefits, it claimed.
— From the Daily Express (UK)