For years, many people have believed that the tannins in green tea might help prevent breast cancer; however, a Japanese study debunks this myth. According to Dr. Motoki Iwasaki, who works with the Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening’s Epidemiology and Prevention department, the study failed to prove any positive correlation between drinking green tea and reducing the possibility of developing breast cancer.
The team published its results in Breast Cancer Research in October 2010. The study took into consideration over 53,000 women and evaluated the amount of green tea they drank, as well as the type. Running from 1995 to 1998, the study collected research from the women at the beginning and the end of the experiment. The amount of tea consumed vary from individual to individual, but 27 percent consumed five or more cups of green tea daily, and 12 percent fell into the category of one cup or less a week. Some participants consumed more than 10 cups a day.
After 14 years, 350 women have developed breast cancer. According to Iwasaki, the study is useful because it gathered information prior to these women developing the condition. This prevents what researchers refer to as exposure recall bias.
While Iwasaki is confident of his research’s results, others point out that the study doesn’t eliminate the idea that green tea has benefits for everyone, including those who may develop breast cancer. One breast cancer doctor in New York City believes that green tea can still be beneficial. Dr. Stephanie Bernik believes it would be hard to say there are no benefits to drinking the tea based on one study. Bernik also pointed out that many women want to consider alternative medication treatments and may look at other ways because of the research.
The study may have problems because participants perhaps didn’t take enough green tea to act as a preventive. Before doctors sign off on green tea, they’ll want to see more research.