Green tea and cancer? I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be the first thought on your mind when you’re trying to think of ways to prevent or at least to reduce the risk of getting cancer.
Don’t feel embarrassed, it also surprised me when I first heard about it!
Green tea can help in your fight
against various types of cancer.
Let’s look at this a bit deeper….
Since cancer has, unfortunately, become one of the world’s leading causes of death substantial research has been done (and is still being conducted) on cancer where researchers try to unravel its mysteries in order to prevent the disease from spreading any further.
For example, according to Kung, Hoyert et al. (2005) 7 out of 10 death among Americans each year are from chronic diseases where heart disease, cancer and stroke account for over 50% of all deaths each year. Read the Report US Deaths 2005.
Luckily, research on green tea and cancer has revealed this increasingly popular type of tea seems to influence various types of cancer, some of which are described below.
Epithelial ovarian cancer
According to Zhang (2004) a patient diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer who, on a daily basis, drank more green tea and in larger quantities than an epithelial ovarian cancer patient who didn’t, had a better chance of survival.
Another 2008 study confirmed these findings as researchers Song et al. from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle (US) found green tea may indeed lower the risk of ovarian cancer. In a trial, doctors analyzed the caffeinated and decaffeinated drink intake of 781 women with ovarian cancer and 1,263 healthy women.
Neither caffeinated nor decaffeinated coffees had any effect on risk, neither did herbal or black tea. However, protective effects were found for green tea. Women drinking one or more cups of green tea a day had a 54 per cent reduction in risk.
A more recent study of our friend Zhang (2007) revealed that green tea consumption was also associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Women drinking more green tea over a longer period of time and preparing more new batches a day had less chance of getting breast cancer than others.
The special drink also reduces the risk of prostate cancer when consumed on a regular basis, during a longer period of time and in larger quantities (more than 1L/day). Read the report on green tea and prostate cancer.
Among non-smoking women, consumption of green tea was associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer, and the risks decreased with increasing consumption (Zhong et al).
What’s more, a 2010 study showed
green tea reduces the risk of getting lung cancer among smokers and non-smokers.
Smokers who did not drink green tea at all had a 13 times higher risk of getting lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea a day (Lin et al)! Read about smoking and green tea.
The results on gastro-intestinal cancer have been mixed. On the one hand, some research shows green tea and cancer have a relationship; green tea can reduce the risk of getting gastric cancer, chronic atrophic gastritis, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.
Other research shows the exact opposite stating no substantial evidence was found that this type of tea influences either chronic atrophic gastritis, stomach cancer, colon cancer or rectum cancer.
Well, the “secret” combining green tea and cancer to each other is
Click on the link to find out what antioxidants are.
If you already know what these little helpers do and you’re anxious to find out what antioxidants can be found in green tea, check out green tea antioxidant!
To summarize, green tea and cancer are linked to each other. Although more research needs to be done and not all evidence is consistent, we can at least say that:
If you love (or at least don’t mind) green tea and cancer is not something you want to familiarize with, take out your tea pot and brew some green tea for your own sake!
- on a daily basis
- during a longer period of time
- in large quantities
The Risk of Many Forms of Cancer!
Huang X, Tajima K, Hamajima N, Inoue M, Takezaki T, Kuroishi T, Hirose K, Tominaga S, Xiang J, Tokudome S: Effect of life styles on the risk of subsite-specific gastric cancer in those with and without family history. J Epidemiol 9:40–45, 1999.
Jian L, Xie LP, Lee AH, Binns CW: Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: A case-control study in southeast China. Int J Cancer 108:130–135, 2004.
Kung HC, Hoyert DL, Xu JQ, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for 2005. National Vital Statistics Reports 2008;56(10).
Kuwahara Y, Kono S, Eguchi H, Hamada H, Shinchi K, Imanishi K: Relationship between serologically diagnosed chronic atrophic gastritis, Helicobacter pylori, and environmental factors in Japanese men. Scand J Gastroenterol 35:476–481, 2000.
Lin, IH and Pennell, N. Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan. Green Tea Could Modify the Effect of Cigarette Smoking on Lung Cancer Risk. As presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, held from Jan. 11-14, 2010.
Nagano J, Kono S, Preston DL, Mabuchi K: A prospective study of green tea consumption and cancer incidence, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Japan). Cancer Causes Control 12:501–508, 2001.
Nakachi K, Matsuyama S, Miyake S, Suganuma M, Imai K: Preventive effects of drinking green tea on cancer and cardiovascular disease: Epidemiological evidence for multiple targeting prevention. Biofactors 13:49–54, 2000.
Shibata K, Moriyama M, Fukushima T, Kaetsu A, Miyazaki M, Une E: Green tea consumption and chronic atrophic gastritis: a cross-sectional study in a green tea production village. J Epidemiol 10:310–316, 2000.
Song YJ, Kristal AR, Wicklund KG, Cushing-Haugen KL, Rossing MA: Coffee, Tea, Colas, and Risk of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 17:712-716, 2008.
Zhang M, Holman CDJ, Huang J-P, Xie X (2007) Green tea and the prevention of breast cancer: a case–control study in southeast China. Carcinogenesis 28: 1074–1078
Zhang M, Lee AH, Binns CW, Xie X (2004) Green tea consumption enhances survival of epithelial ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer 112: 465–469
Zhong L, Golberg MS, Gao YT, Hanley JA, Parent ME, Jin F: A population-based case-control study of lung cancer and green tea consumption among women living in Shanghai, China. Epidemiology 12:695–700, 2001.