Green Tea May Prevent Colon and Rectal Cancer
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A large new public health research study from China suggests that drinking green tea at least 3 times per week may cut colorectal cancer risk in half, but only among nonsmokers.
GREEN TEA MAY PREVENT COLON AND RECTAL CANCER
As I have written about in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, green tea has been consumed for several thousand years now, and the health benefits attributed to this ancient beverage have been numerous. Unfortunately, the published research findings regarding green tea’s claimed health benefits continue to be quite contradictory, including in the area of cancer prevention research.
A newly published public health study from China, which appears in the journal Carcinogenesis, adds to previous studies that have suggested a favorable role for green tea in cancer prevention. In this very large prospective public health study, 60,567 Chinese men (ages 40 to 74 years) were followed for an average of about 5 years. The incidence of new colorectal cancers was assessed in this very large cohort of research volunteers, and the consumption of green tea was assessed as a potential factor in the incidence of colorectal cancer among these men.
In this huge prospective public health study, the regular consumption of green tea (defined as green tea consumption at least 3 times per week, and for more than 6 consecutive months) was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of developing colorectal cancer. However, this observed colorectal cancer prevention benefit was limited to nonsmokers, as green tea consumption appeared to have no beneficial effect on colorectal cancer risk among men who smoked.
Among nonsmoking men, the regular consumption of green tea was associated with a very impressive 46 percent reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Importantly, higher reported levels of green tea intake were associated with correspondingly greater reductions in colorectal cancer risk (but, once again, only in nonsmokers). This “dose-response” relationship is a very important consideration, because any true cancer prevention effect by green tea should, indeed, exhibit this kind of dose-dependent impact on cancer risk reduction.
While only a large-scale prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical research trial can definitively prove whether or not regular green tea consumption can prevent colorectal cancer, the results of this very large prospective public health study suggest that green tea may indeed have an important role to play in colorectal cancer prevention.
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Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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