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Will a cuppa give you prostate cancer? Reading the tea leaves

Wednesday 20 June, 2012 by Melissa

An interesting story has hit the papers this week that may have some Scottish (and Australian) men checking under their kilts, especially if they like a cup of tea, or even seven.

That's because a study from the University of Glasgow's Health and Wellbeing Institute reportedly showed a link between drinking black tea and prostate cancer.

The study followed the health of more than 6000 Scots aged between 21 and 75 for 37 years.

A quarter of these men were heavy tea drinkers - that is, they drank more than seven cups of tea a day - and the data collected showed that 6.4% of them developed prostate cancer.

However, as regular Cut Your Cancer Risk readers would know, age is a risk factor in cancers such as prostate cancer, so it could be that the men aged, and would have gotten prostate cancer anyway irrespective of their tea drinking habits.

As the study's leader Dr Kashif Shafique says: "We don't know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway."

So, more research is needed before men start giving up the drink, which as my dear old dad would say, ‘warms the cockles or your heart on a wintery day.'

Especially when there have been studies which show that show tea, particularly green tea, may actually reduce the risk of some cancers (however the evidence of this association is also limited).

As always, we recommend men speak to their GP about matters of the prostate - especially when it comes to PSA testing as there are a number of issues you need to discuss - not just your tea drinking habits.

So, what do you think? Are you a tea drinker? Would you cut down on your tea consumption for the sake of your prostate?

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