Tea Drinkers at Lower Risk for Skin Cancers

August 16, 2007

A recent study by Norris Cotton Cancer Center researchers has shown that people who drink tea are less likely to have squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) or basal cell carcinoma (BCC). An article in the May, 2007 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology described the study led by Judy R. Rees, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School. Over 2100 New Hampshire residents participated in a series of interviews that yielded several significant conclusions.

The risk of contracting squamous cell carcinoma is significantly reduced by drinking more tea over a longer period of time. Participants who drank more than two cups of tea a day, and had done so for more than 10 years, showed a statistically significant risk reduction for SCC. There was a smaller risk reduction for participants in contracting basal cell carcinoma. The study showed that regularly drinking tea also reduced the risk of contracting BCC, but the benefits did not increase with a long term history of drinking tea, or with the volume of tea consumed.

The results held true for participants who drank both green and black teas. Both kinds of tea come from the same plant - Camellia sinensis - and differ only in the amount of time the leaves are fermented. Green tea is higher in polyphenols, but lower in caffeine than black tea which is higher in theaflavins. Other studies have shown these chemicals to exhibit cancer-preventive properties.

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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology