Smokers may be able to lower the risk of lung cancer by drinking green tea, according to Taiwanese research.
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A study found that those who drank no green tea at all were almost 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who drank at least one cup per day, while the figures for smokers and non-smokers combined revealed the risk was five-times lower for green tea drinkers.
A team at Taiwan’s Chung Shan Medical University compared information given by 340 healthy people and 170 lung cancer patients about their green tea consumption, smoking habits, family history and diet.
They also tested their subjects’ growth factors - the biological chemicals linked to cancer which stimulate cell growth - and presented the findings at the Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer conference in Coronado, California.
People who drank the antioxidant-rich beverage and were genetically more likely to have less harmful growth factor variants had a 66% lower risk of lung cancer than tea drinkers with a more hazardous version.
Lead researcher I-Hsin Lin said: “Our study may represent a clue that in the case of lung cancer, smoking-induced carcinogenesis could be modulated by green tea consumption and the growth factor environment.”