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  • Green Tea and the Prevention of Breast Cancer

    Zhang and colleagues took a look at the relationship between green tea consumption and the prevention of breast cancer in South East China. They did this by performing a cohort study of four teaching hospitals in the Zhejiang region of China. The study identified 1009 women with breast cancer who were prepared to participate in the study; as a control 1009 other women who attended the hospital but did not have breast cancer were analysed. The studies looked into demographics, life style, tea consumption, food consumption and hormonal status.

    Classification of Green Tea Drinkers

    The tea drinkers were classified in the research as being drinkers or non-drinkers of the beverage in their lifetime. The green tea drinkers were then asked about frequency of tea consumption, preparation methods and type of tea consumed.

    Analysis of Results: A Link Between Breast Cancer and Green Tea?

    The data from the survey was such that it was able to eliminate many factors such as residential area, coffee consumption, breastfeeding children, menopausal status and alcohol and tobacco use from the results. There did appear to be a link to green tea consumption and lifestyle; green tea drinkers tended to be better educated, lived in urban areas, drank more coffee, consumed more vegetables, but drank more alcohol.

    It was found that there was indeed a link between green tea drinkers and the rates of breast cancer. If the rate of incident of getting breast cancer in a non-tea drinker was given a reference number of 1, then those who drank one cup of tea a week had a figure of 0.8, those who drank less than one cup a day but more than two cups per week had an incidence level of 0.88. But those who drank one or two cups of tea a day the rate of breast cancer dropped to 0.48. This suggests that drinking green tea could prevent the risk of getting breast cancer by 50%.

    Although it can be seen that there is a strong link between the consumption of green tea and the prevention of breast cancer it should be remembered that many of the consumers of green tea were better educated and ate more vegetables than the non-drinkers. It is therefore possible (and likely) that these factors have an impact upon breast cancer too. It is therefore recommended that drinking green tea when took together with a better lifestyle may go a long way towards the prevention of breast cancer.

    Zhang et al (2006) Green tea and the prevention of breast cancer: a case-control study in South east China. Carcinogenesis 28: 1074 to 1078