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hannabling said

Drinking tea ‘increases cancer risk’

Drinking large amounts of tea could increase the risk of prostate cancer, research suggests. Scientists found that more than seven cups a day raised the chances of men developing the disease by 50 percent. But whether the link is causal or due to coincidence is still unknown, sky news reports.
Study leader Dr Kashif Shafique, from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow said, “Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea. We don’t know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway.” The Scottish researchers tracked the health of more than 6,000 men aged between 21 and 75, over a period of 37 years.
Participants provided information about their tea, coffee and alcohol consumption, smoking habits and general health. Just under a quarter of the men were heavy tea drinkers. Of these, 6.4 percent developed prostate cancer during the course of the study.
Those drinking more than seven cups of tea a day were 50 percent more at risk than those who drank no tea or up to three cups. The findings are reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer. Dr Shafique added, “We found that heavy tea drinkers were more likely not to be overweight, be non-alcohol drinkers and have healthy cholesterol levels. However, we did adjust for these differences in our analysis and still found that men who drank the most tea were at greater risk of prostate cancer.”
Each year almost 41,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and around 11,000 die from the disease.
Men taking part in the study were drinking traditional black tea rather than green tea, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Black tea contains far fewer flavanols, protective plant chemicals, than green tea. But the researchers said they knew of no ingredient in black tea that might promote prostate cancer. Drinking large quantities of tea had no link to more aggressive forms of the disease.




25 Replies

I had one of these articles before and this statement alone is enough for me not to take this seriously until they further research the issue: “We don’t know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway”.

Then there is this statement: Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea.

Also, the headlines for these articles seem very irresponsible, almost sensational just to get readers to read the article.

Lindsay said

Exactly. Pass the tea, pls.

That’s EXACTLY the sentence that brought me up short as well. Hmmmm.

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All I’ve heard up until now is that tea can be beneficial and help reduce the risk of cancer. But, I’m not surprised by this study, because it seems that whenever there are claims of health benefits from a product, eventually there are claims of the opposite … and the reverse is also true. An example of this would be the huge backlash against eggs back in the late 80s and then later there was “new studies” that suggests that eggs are not as bad as we thought.

I personally do not drink tea for its health benefits, I drink it because I enjoy it. It brings me great joy, the simple act of sipping tea, and I can’t imagine not drinking it.

teawade said

I’m with you 100 percent. Tea has just become a big part of my life and it’s more than just health benefits, although it doesn’t hurt to have those benefits as well.

That’s my thought as well. I drink it because I love it, no other reason. The fact that there are purported health benefits, well, that’s nice, and if they are in fact true benefits, so much the better. I consider that a bonus.

Pekoe said

we’re lucky we’ve chosen tea as our main beverage. I find it superior to everything in every way.

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Yes, I normally do not pay much attention to these kinds of studies.
They will come out with this and then a couple years down the road come out with a study to the contrary.
As LiberTEAS said, Eggs are bad then Eggs are good.
Coffee is bad then it is good, so on and so forth.
I think in everything moderation is the key.

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Here’s a look at the science behind the study, it’s pitfalls and repurcussions.

Correlation does not equal causation.

Also- a group survey-based study (whose original intent was not to study the relationships between tea and cancer) can never “prove”… only extrapolate and point to areas of future study to confirm or deny trends and their causes.


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All very good points!
Also, I’ve heard that consuming hot beverages in general is a risk factor. and I mean piping hot. Some people like their coffee scalding and black!
As I understand it, since hot beverages change the surface of the skin (or rather, throat or stomach in this case), and then that effect is repeated multiple times… it puts the drinker at risk of cancer. This is what my doc says! whether that is true for prostate cancer I have no idea. Doubtful, but who knows.

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BiggieG said

As someone that worked in Glasgow, I can bet the cohort were black tea + sugar + milk, plus God alone knows how many other lifestyle risk factors – fantastic city, but not exactly a mediterranean diet.

Indigobloom – that’s very interesting, I once read something about teetotal Iranian tribesmen having the highest esophageal cancer rate in the world, and the only thing they could think of to blame was boiling hot tea. Who can say?

Probably a decent study but not applicable to non-black tea and milk drinkers from the UK?

Edit: googled the Iranian study because it was irritating me…


Missy said

Interesting article. I read some thing like that about yerba mate. It was connected to increased cancer risk in the “food tube”. It was thought that thermal damage may be the culprit due to the way it’s ingested.

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Kally Tea said

It seems that no matter what we drink, eat, wear, even breathe anymore causes cancer or some other disease.

Guess we have to be of the camp that if tea has been around all these thousands of years, and prostate cancer (as well as other cancers) has exponentially increased over just the last 30 years, We’ll have to take our chances with tea.

Besides… WE LOVE TEA!

BiggieG said

Well, yes I love tea, but not to the extent of being chemically castrated to enjoy a cuppa. I think I may draw the line at that :)

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Well, that’s unfortunate. Prostate cancer, here I come.

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JasonCT said

Please pass the tea!

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Roughage said

If you read the Daily Mail, everything causes cancer:
I think moderation is the key.

Kally Tea said

Absolutely perfect!

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