Can green tea lower prostate cancer rates in men?

Can green tea lower prostate cancer rates in men?

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Men in the Unites States are more prone to getting prostate cancer than any other type of cancer. It is the second most common type of cancer among American men. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 cases of prostate cancer are reported in the United States each year.

What is prostate cancer?

A common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, occurs when there is an enlargement of the prostate gland. If left untreated, cancer cells may start developing in the outer boundary of the prostate, leading to prostate cancer.

Traditional treatment options

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common treatment options for prostate cancer are either surgery, radiation therapy, cryosurgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, vaccine treatment and bone-directed treatment.

Articles from both the International Journal of Radiation Oncology and Cancer Causes and Control indicate that these treatments have a wide range of side effects that include fatigue, depression, urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and infertility.

In extreme cases, the cancer treatments may even prove life threatening.

Alternative treatment options

These undesirable side effects have sparked growing interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) states that in recent years, more emphasis has been put on chemoprevention rather than using conventional treatments.

Modern CAM treatment focuses on the use of certain foods, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins and minerals to treat prostate cancer.

Green tea and prostate cancer

Of all the CAM treatment options, green tea appears to be a strong and promising agent that actively prevents cancer cells from growing and spreading. Green tea has also been proven to stimulate cancer cell death.

A 1998 research study found in the journal Cancer Letters shows that the catechins in green tea have the potential of inhibiting cancer cell growth and killing off cancerous cells.

The researchers mention that the strongest and most potent cancer-fighting catechin present in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). The green tea polyphenol EGCG appears to reach the prostate tissue and then modifies the inflammation of the prostate gland.

A study conducted in southeast China to investigate the pros and cons of green tea in prostate cancer found that risk declined in patients with increased frequency, duration and quantity of green tea consumption.

The authors of the study concluded that green tea was positively involved in the prevention of prostate cancer.

Green tea is a helper not a cure

The health benefits of consuming green tea are all too obvious. However, they are not 100% conclusive and more research needs to be conducted to determine appropriate doses and targeting methods.

Drinking green tea is undoubtedly a great preventative, but should not be considered an alternative solution to conventional cancer treatments.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, please seek the help of medical doctor.


Jian, L., Xie, L. P., Lee1, A. H., & Binns, C. W. (2004). Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: A case-control study in southeast China. International Journal of Cancer, 108(1), 130-135.

Mishel, M. H., Belyea, M., Germino, B. B., Stewart, J. L., Bailey, D. J., Robertson, C., & Mohler, J. (2002). Helping patients with localized prostate carcinoma manage uncertainty and treatment side effects: Nurse-delivered psychoeducational intervention over the telephone. Cancer Causes & Control, 94(6), 1-13.

Paschka, A. G., Butler, R., & Young, C. Y. (1998). Induction of apoptosis in prostate cancer cell lines by the green tea component, (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Cancer Letters, 130(12), 17.

Schultheiss, T. E., Lee, W. R., Hunt, M. A., Hanlon, A. L., Peter, R. S., & Hanks, G. E. (1997). Late GI and GU complications in the treatment of prostate cancer. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, 37(1), 311.

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