Green Tea: Bad / Misunderstood Advice

If you’re a green tea drinker, you’ve probably heard of the tea’s health benefits. The research on its cancer-fighting properties is promising but mixed.

Who hasn’t heard of green tea being good for people with cancer and for preventing cancer? Or to help with weight loss?

Yes, I’ve heard it. And I know you have too.

Raises your hand or nod your head.

Don’t get me wrong, I love green tea with lemon and honey and I drink it all the time. I have drinken it since long before I ever heard the unreliable news that it helps in preventing cancer. Being as I am a cancer patient, it kinda proves it was incorrect information.

I know people who have purposely started drinking green tea because they heard it is ‘better’ for them and would cure their cancer.

According to an article, “Dr Tan Wu Meng, a consultant in medical oncology at Parkway Cancer Centre in Singapore, said it is fine to drink matcha but do not expect it to protect you from the disease.”

So, here’s the bad news:
Green tea and green tea extracts are widely consumed by patients with cancer. Yet, overall there is no evidence that proves green tea or its chemical components slow tumor progression in humans — and more importantly, there is some evidence which proves green tea compounds might interfere with anticancer treatment.

There is some early stage (stage I) research that suggest green tea intake helps:
– reduce the risk of leukemia, after 20 years of consumption
– reduce the risk of prostate, liver,and endometrial cancers, if you drink 7 cups or more a day
– reduce the risk of diarrhea if you take the extract, but can increase the risk of skin rash and nausea.

If you are taking Tamoxifen: Green tea may increase risk of adverse side effects (well, it probably would have been a good thing to know 2 1/2 years ago when I started taking tamoxifen).

Green tea has also been found to prevent the benefits of chemo (chemopreventive) for breast cancer patients. But wait, there is more: A meta-analysis conducted by Chinese researchers of published epidemiological studies found insufficient evidence to conclude that there is an association between green tea consumption and esophageal cancer, despite a subgroup analysis suggesting a possible risk reduction for women. Green tea consumption does not appear to affect the risk of pancreatic cancer.

So, the conclusion is: There is limited epidemiologic and lab-experiment evidence that green tea and green tea compounds are capable at high concentrations of affecting tumor biology. There is not, however, substantive clinical evidence that this potential translates to clinically meaningful cancer prevention or treatment benefits in humans.

Which means, there is no real evidence saying green tea is really better for you and it can mess with your cancer treatment.

As a group of people (cancer patients), I think we have learned to quickly grab on to what we see as ‘good news’ or something ‘good’ to eat or drink because some study said so. When we need to realize there is a good reason more research is often needed.

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