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Tea Reduces Ovarian Cancer Risk


Whether you enjoy green, black, or herbal tea, drinking more than four cups each day may reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to Australian researchers.

Recently, there have been several studies that have explored dietary habits on the risk of ovarian cancer. A University of Illinois study, for example, noted that flaxseed may reduce the severity of the disease, while another research project found that curcumin destroys ovarian cancer cells.

A University of Illinois at Chicago investigative team recently noted that a healthy diet could prolong survival among women who have ovarian cancer. Previous work in animals has indicated that tea consumption can inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells, but research in humans has not been consistent.

Now investigators from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, led by Dr. Christina Nagle from the Institute’s Gynaecological Cancer Group, report on their work, which supports "the idea that the antioxidants in tea may be beneficial against cancer in humans.”

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Approximately 2,700 Australian women, half who had ovarian cancer and half who did not, were surveyed about their dietary habits, including tea consumption. Nagle noted that “Our results indicate that drinking more than four cups a day of black, green or herbal tea may reduce ovarian cancer risk by almost 30%.”

Previous research that has focused on green tea suggests that it may be healthier than more processed teas, including black and oolong teas. In this current study, Nagle pointed out that although her team’s work did not find a stronger benefit for green tea, “combining all of the evidence worldwide suggests that drinking one or more cups green tea per day may reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer by 40%.”

Approximately 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2009, according to the National Cancer Institute, and 14,600 women died of the disease. In Australia, nearly 1,200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, with two-thirds of the women dying. In most cases, the disease is in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed.

The results of this study suggesting that drinking tea may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer is yet one more indication that dietary measures may have a beneficial influence on this devastating disease.

National Cancer Institute
Queensland Institute of Medical Research