Seven cups of tea can cause prostate cancer

Last Updated 19 June 2012, 18:57 IST

If you have turned into a heavy tea drinker influenced by the health benefits boasted by recent studies, you need to rethink, as a new long-term research has claimed seven cups or more  a day could raise the risk of prostate cancer in men.

The warning comes from University of Glasgow researchers who tracked more than 6,000 men for four decades and found that those who drank seven or more cups of tea daily had a 50 per cent higher risk of contracting the disease than men who took three or fewer.

Their findings, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, counter the previous research, which have suggested that tea-drinking lowers the risk of cancer, as well as heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

In the new study, which was began in 1970, participants aged between 21 and 75 were asked to complete a questionnaire about their usual consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol as well as their smoking habits and general health. They also had to attend a screening examination.

Just under a quarter of the over 6,000 men were heavy tea drinkers, consuming seven or more cups a day. Of them, 6.4 per cent developed prostate cancer over the next 37 years.

The researchers also found that the subjects who drank the most tea were often teetotal and led healthy lifestyles.

As a result, they may have been at a lower risk of death from “competing causes”, effectively giving them more time to develop prostate cancer, they said.

“Most previous studies have shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea, or some preventive effect of green tea,” lead study author Kashif Shafique was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“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,” Dr Shafique said. He added that those drinking the most tea were less likely to be overweight or drink alcohol, and more likely to 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,”he added.

(Published 19 June 2012, 16:13 IST)

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