Prostate cancer is a cancer that grows in the prostate - a gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in American and Canadian men. This form of cancer grows at a slow rate and tends to occur in men over 40 years of age. Certain aggressive cases of prostate cancer may grow at a fast rate. After lung cancer, prostate cancer has the highest death toll by cancer.
A study from Scotland revealed that men who are heavy tea drinkers are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. The study was first initiated by Dr Kashif Shafique of the Institute of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow in 1973. This study involved 6016 Scottish men who were between the ages of 21 to 75. The medical conditions of all of these men were closely monitored for 37 years when finally the results were revealed. However, the study did not prove that tea was the cause of prostate cancer; it merely revealed that prostate cancer chances increased measurably by the heavy consumption of tea.
Dr Kashif said "Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea." He added that “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.”
This study was published online in the journal of Nutrition and Cancer. The study specifically highlighted that men who consume more than 7 cups of tea daily have 50 percent higher risk of developing cancer as compared to men who only drink up to 3 cups a day. Dr Kashif added “We found that heavy tea drinkers were more likely not to be overweight, be non alcohol-drinkers and 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”
During the study 6.4 percent of the men who drank the most tea developed prostate cancer whereas 4.6 percent of the men who drank less tea developed prostate cancer.
There are some doctors who don’t full heartedly agree with the findings of this study. These doctors believe this study has failed to take into account several variables which should have been considered. For instance, Dr Kate Holmes, head of research at the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: "Whilst it does appear that - of the 6,000 men who took part in this study - those who drank seven or more cups of tea each day had an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, this did not take into consideration family history or any other dietary elements other than tea, coffee and alcohol intake.” She concluded "We would therefore not wish any man to be concerned that drinking a moderate amount of tea as part of a healthy diet will put them at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer."
Dr Carrie Ruxton is a dietician who is part of the Tea Advisory panel, said “The study doesn't show a cause and effect relationship between tea drinking and cancer risk. Tea drinking is simply a marker for some other issue. That may be down to issues with stress, or perhaps diet.”
The incidence of prostate cancer in Scotland has gone up by 7.4 percent in the last 10 years. Which brings up the question, is tea safe to drink? Anything in excess can be bad for the health, and tea is no exception to the rule. In order to be healthy, a man should limit the amount tea that they consume – prostate cancer or no. An individual should not exceed up to 3 cups of tea a day.