Maybe the British are on to something. A new study shows women who drink tea are less likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who do not drink tea.
Researchers found the more tea women drank, the lower their risk of ovarian cancer. Women who drank at least 2 cups of tea per day had a 46 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer compared with nontea drinkers; each additional cup of tea was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer.
Several studies have suggested that both green and black tea may protect against various cancers. But researchers say this is the first study to look specifically at the relationship between drinking tea and the risk of ovarian cancer.
Drinking Tea May Prevent Ovarian Cancer
In the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers compared tea consumption and the risk of ovarian cancer in more than 60,000 women aged 40 to 76 in Sweden.
The women filled out questionnaires on food and beverages they consumed regularly; the participants were followed for about 15 years. About two-thirds of the women said they drank tea at least once a month.
During the follow-up period, 301 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and researchers found tea drinking was associated with lowered ovarian cancer risk.
Women who drank at least 2 cups of tea per day were half as likely to develop ovarian cancer as nondrinkers; those who drank at least 1 cup of tea a day had a 24 percent lower risk.
Researchers say each additional cup of tea over two cups per day was associated with an additional 18 percent reduction in ovarian cancer risk.
They say the ovarian cancer prevention benefits also extended to women who drank coffee in addition to tea.
Although animal studies have suggested black and green tea contain potent anticancer compounds, researchers say more studies are needed to confirm the relationship between tea and cancer.
ByJennifer Warner, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
SOURCE: Larsson, S. Archives of Internal Medicine, Dec. 12/26, 2005; vol 165: pp 2683-2686.