Tea and Cancer Have Been a Hot Topic for Many Years 

Of all the medical research being done on different diseases and tea, Tea and cancer is the only one with an entire book on the subject, “Cancer Hates Tea” by Maria Uspenski. 

“Tea is the most studied anti-cancer plant. Over the past 10 years, more than 5,000 medical studies have been published on the health benefits of tea, with over 1000 of those focusing specifically on tea and cancer.” 

Cancer Hates Tea Cover of book by Maria Uspenski

Cancer Hates Tea, by Maria Uspenski. 

5 Ways That We think of tea benefitting cancer.

  • Making the cells of the body healthy by removing the byproducts of oxidation. Tea is an antioxidant. Some teas are rated more highly than others in this capacity.
  • Helping remove aging cells that are vulnerable to invasion by cancer cells. This is the normal process of apoptosis – proper cell death.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle so that the body’s immune system stays strong. Stress is a major contriubuting factor to many diseases – including cancer.
  • Tea extracts assisting with delivering cancer fighting drugs in a more targeted and effective way.
  • Tea extracts combined with cancer drug treatments to increase their effectiveness.   (see below)

 Combining Tea Polyphenols with Cancer Treatment Drugs

Effect of Tea Polyphenol Compounds on Anticancer Drugs in Terms of Anti-Tumor Activity, Toxicology, and Pharmacokinetics – Nutrients. 2016 Dec; 8(12): 762. by Jianhua Cao,1 Jie Han,2 Hao Xiao,1 Jinping Qiao,1,* and Mei Han1

The benefits of combining tea polyphenols with anticancer compounds are now widely accepted by cancer researchers. Previous studies have demonstrated that a combination of chemotherapeutic drugs and green tea extract could enhance therapeutic effects and reduce the adverse side effects of anticancer drugs most of the time. 

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One of the problems with discussing the use of tea to treat disease is that it begins to sound like a prescription and we have the tendency to behave like pharmacists. 

More than 100 different kinds of cancer. Most of them are named for a specific organ. And if you begin search through medical publications for types of cancer that have been studied for potential benefits from Camellia sinensis, you will find great many studies covering dozens of different types. The great majority show some level of success but recommend that more studies be done to confirm their results. It’s exciting to watch as more of medical science invests their research dollars into potential benefits from tea. 

In this article I’ve selected a few of the most common and pervasive cancers with an example of one published research study for each one. This is only to give you a flavor of the questions and conclusions that have been reached. 

Breast Cancer 

Green tea and the prevention of breast cancer: a case-control study in Southeast China 

by Min Zhang 1C D’Arcy J HolmanJiang-ping HuangXing Xie

Compared with non-tea drinkers, green tea drinkers tended to reside in urban, have better education and have higher consumption of coffee, alcohol, soy, vegetables and fruits. After adjusting established and potential confounders, green tea consumption was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. … We conclude that regular consumption of green tea can protect against breast cancer. More research to closely examine the relationship between tea consumption and breast cancer risk is warranted. (Carcinogenesis. 2007 May;28(5):1074-8.)


Ovarian Cancer

Tea consumption and the risk of ovarian cancer: A meta-analysis of epidemiological studies

by Xin Zhan,#1 Jie Wang,#2 Shufen Pan,3 and Caijuan Lu1

Studies showed that tea consumption was significantly associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. More population-based studies, especially high-quality cohort trials, may be more effective in confirming whether tea consumption prevents ovarian cancer. Further studies in different populations with different tea types in varied dosages are required to correctly ascertain the relationship between tea consumption and the risk of ovarian cancer. (Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 6; 8(23): 37796–37806.)


Skin Cancer

Green tea prevents non-melanoma skin cancer by enhancing DNA repair

by Santosh K. Katiyar

Together, the studies conducted with green tea polyphenols indicate that the prevention of UV radiation-induced immunosuppression and subsequently the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer by GTPs either through topical application or in drinking water of mice are mediated through rapid repair of UVB-induced DNA damage, … As UV-induced DNA damage and immunosuppression play an important role in nonmelanoma skin cancer, it is tempting to suggest that drinking green tea should be further investigated as a chemopreventive agent for the prevention of skin cancers in humans, and its possible use in future practice of medicine. (Arch Biochem Biophys. 2011 Apr 15; 508(2): 152–158.  Published online 2010 Nov 19. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2010.11.015)


Prostate Cancer

Epigenetic Changes Induced by Green Tea Catechins are Associated with Prostate Cancer.  

by A Giudice 1M Montella 1M Boccellino 2A Crispo 1G D’Arena 3S Bimonte 4G Facchini 1G Ciliberto 5G Botti 6L Quagliuolo 2M Caraglia 2M Capunzo 7

Recent evidence suggests that green tea catechins such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) not only act as epigenetic modulators but can also modify miRNA expression and their target mRNAs, consistently contributing to the inhibition of prostate carcinogenesis. Various studies also indicate that several green tea polyphenols (GTPs) exert synergistic effects with other cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Therefore, the use of appropriate combinations of green tea catechins with the existing chemotherapeutics will lead to a reduction in side effects without decreasing the chemotherapeutic effects. (Current Molecular Medicine. 2017;17(6):405-420.)


Lung Cancer

Does the Consumption of Green Tea Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer Among Smokers?  

by Wenbin LiangColin W. BinnsLe Jian, and Andy H. Lee 

Our review suggests that regular intake of green tea at high levels (>3 cups per day) may offer protection against tobacco carcinogens for smokers, provided that the duration of green tea consumption is sufficiently long to cover the smoking period. For epidemiology studies, improvement in measuring green tea intake is required in order to confirm the chemopreventive effect of green tea observed in in vitro animal and human trials. (Evidence Based Complement Alternat Medicien. 2007 Mar; 4(1): 17–22.)


Mayo Clinic Researchers Discover Green Tea Component Helps Kill Leukemia Cells

April 2, 2004. Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic researchers focused on green tea for at least three reasons. One, since the 1970s, epidemiological studies of cancer have shown that in parts of the world where green tea is consumed, the incidence of solid tumor cancers such as breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancers is lower. Secondly, mouse-model testing of green tea’s cancer-prevention properties has shown they protect against solid tumors. And three, in the laboratory, the EGCG component of green tea has been proven to induce death in cancer cells from solid tumors.

The Mayo Clinic research suggests EGCG works by inhibiting a pathway in the leukemia cells related to angiogenesis — the complex process that maintains nourishing blood flow to a biological structure, in this case a cancer cell.

One Last Thing To Say About Tea and Cancer . . . 

Cancer must really hate tea! The spotlight directed toward preventing and treating the various forms of this disease with something as simple and as available and as comforting as tea present an incredible challenge to the stranglehold that cancer has had on human health and well-being. 

So we can give the last word to the author of “Cancer Hates Tea”, Maria Usepenski.

“Wherever you are on your path to optimum health and wellness, the varieties and possibilities for enjoying tea are endless. The great news is that the effects of drinking tea daily can start making a measurable difference in your body in as little as six weeks.”

Cancer Hates Tea, Maria Uspenski

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