Two teas a day reduces prostate cancer risk 'by a third', but coffee offers no benefit
Regular tea drinks 37 per cent less likely to develop a tumour Study carried out by scientists at Maastricht University in the NetherlandsNearly 40,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK
01:47 GMT, 27 March 2013
07:55 GMT, 27 March 2013
Men who drink at least two cups of tea a day could slash their risk of prostate cancer by more than a third, according to new research.
Regular tea drinkers were 37 per cent less likely to develop a tumour than those who drank it less than once a week.
But there was no benefit from coffee, according to scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, where the latest study was carried out.
Regular tea drinkers were 37 per cent less likely to develop a tumour than those who drank it less than once a week
Nearly 40,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK and 10,000 men die from it – the equivalent of more than one an hour.
The risks increase with age, with men over 50 more likely to develop a tumour, and there is a strong genetic element to it.
As with some other types of cancer, diet is thought to be a key factor in the development of the disease.
But there has been conflicting evidence on the role of popular beverages.
Last year, for example, a study at Glasgow University found heavy tea drinkers were more at risk of the disease.
The study showed that drinking coffee had no benefits in preventing prostate cancer
It tracked the health of more than 6,000 male volunteers over a period of 37 years and found those consuming over seven cups a day had a 50 per cent higher risk of prostate cancer than moderate and non tea drinkers.
But the researchers stressed they could not be sure if tea really was a risk factor, or if drinkers lived to ages where cancer was more common.
In the latest study, the Maastricht University team compared 892 men diagnosed with prostate cancer with a similar number who were in good health, studying their dietary and drinking habits.
The study was carried out on a population of men in the US, where coffee is much more popular.
Only one in five volunteers drank at least one tea a day, compared with nearly 60 per cent when it came to coffee.
But the results, published in the journal Cancer Causes Control, showed two or more teas a day appeared to have a powerful anti-cancer effect, while coffee had none.
The study did not examine how tea might help to prevent prostate tumours but previous investigations have found it contains disease-fighting chemicals, called polyphenols, that may protect vital tissues and organs against an invasion of cancerous cells.
A 2010 study discovered women drinking just one cup of tea a day were ten per cent less likely to suffer ovarian cancer.
In a report on the latest findings researchers said: 'This is further evidence that tea consumption may be a modifiable exposure that reduces the risk of prostate cancer.'