Antioxidants May Help Limit Damage From UV Radiation by Reuters
Sipping tea may lower your skin cancer
People who unwind with a cup of tea every night may have a lower
risk of two common forms of skin cancer, new research suggests.
In a study of nearly 2,200 adults, researchers found that tea
drinkers had a lower risk of developing squamous cell or basal cell
carcinoma, the two most common forms of skin cancer.
Men and women who had ever been regular tea drinkers - having
one or more cups a day -were 20 percent to 30 percent less likely
to develop the cancers than those who didn't drink tea.
The effect was even stronger among study participants who'd been
tea fans for decades, as well as those who regularly had at least
two cups a day, according to findings published in the Journal of
the American Academy of Dermatology.
However, the findings do not mean it's OK to bake in the sun as
long as you have a cup of tea afterward. The researchers found no
evidence that tea drinking lowered skin cancer risk in people who'd
accumulated painful sunburns in the past.
Nor did the study look at the relationship between tea drinking
and malignant melanoma, the least common but most deadly form of
Still, the findings support the theory that tea antioxidants may
limit the damage UV radiation inflicts on the skin, according to
the study authors, led by Dr. Judy R. Rees of Dartmouth Medical
School in Lebanon, N.H.
In particular, a tea antioxidant known as EGCG has been shown to
reduce burning on UV-exposed skin.
The current findings are based on interviews with 770 New
Hampshire residents with basal cell carcinoma, 696 with squamous
cell carcinoma, and 715 cancer-free men and women the same age.
Tea consumption was linked to a lower skin cancer risk, even
with factors such as age, skin type and history of severe burns
considered. However, tea drinkers who'd suffered multiple painful
burns in the past did not have a lower risk of skin cancer.
It's possible, the researchers explain, that the antioxidants in
tea are enough to limit skin damage caused by moderate sun
exposure, but not the "more extreme" effects of sun exposure, such
as cancer-promoting damage to the DNA in skin cells.
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