April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and in recognition of this today’s post will examine recent research on the consumption of tea and risk of oral cancer.
Statistics from the American Cancer Society estimate about 53,000 Americans will develop oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2019. It is also estimated that nearly 11,000 will die from these types of cancer. The main risk factors appear to be tobacco use, alcohol, and HPV infection.
A recent study was performed by a group of researchers in China. They performed a review and meta-analysis of 14 case-control studies, examining the role between tea consumption and oral cancers. These studies included participants from the Africa, Asia, Europe and the US.
The researchers discovered that increased tea consumption was associated with a decreased risk of oral cancer. A dose-response analysis indicated that the risk of oral cancer was decreased when the dose and duration of tea consumption was increased. For example, with every cup of tea intake increased, the risk of oral cancer dropped by 6.2%.
Tea is known to contain many bioactive compounds, such as catechins. Catechins are flavonoid compounds, and have antioxidant properties. It is thought that catechins have anti-carcinogenic properties as well, and hence may be one of the compounds in tea that work to lower cancer risk.
The 5 year survival rate of oral cancers is about 65%. Early detection is the key to the survivability from many types of cancers, as is avoidance of known risk factors. Given the results of this study, perhaps consider tea as a healthy beverage of choice.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”– C.S. Lewis
(Source- Medicine (2018) 97:51)
This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.