The Fight Against Breast Cancer Going Green

The Fight Against Breast Cancer Going Green
In the​ past few years, a​ number of​ women have turned to​ green vegetables in​ an effort to​ attempt to​ lower their risk of​ breast cancer. With the​ disease affecting as​ many as​ one in​ eight American women, it​ is​ only natural that women look to​ natural remedies in​ an attempt to​ improve their odds in​ the​ fight against this alltooprevalent kind of​ cancer.
Increasingly, though, researchers are looking to​ another green food in​ an effort to​ cut breast cancer risk—green tea. While black tea and​ chamomile tea have long been thought to​ soothe nerves and​ combat depression, it​ is​ green tea which is​ making headlines in​ the​ world of​ cancer research.
A number of​ animal and​ laboratory studies have shown that green tea can be highly effective in​ fighting tumors in​ the​ mammary tissues. But only recently has the​ scientific community been able to​ address the​ effect of​ green tea on breast cancer in​ human beings.
A Case in​ Point
One significant study indicated that green tea extract prevents breast cancer cells from producing a​ chemical that leads to​ tumors. University of​ Southern California researcher Anna H. Wu and​ her team noted the​ dietary and​ lifestyle choices of​ more than 500 women with breast cancer and​ nearly 600 women without cancer in​ Los Angeles. the​ women were of​ Asian descent and​ ranged in​ age from 25 to​ 74. the​ researchers found that the​ healthy women were far more likely to​ consume green tea. and​ those breast cancer patients who did drink green tea were likely to​ consume less of​ it​ than the​ healthy women were. in​ fact, drinking less than six tablespoons of​ green tea a​ day appeared to​ cut a​ woman’s risk for​ breast cancer by as​ much as​ 30 percent.
Unfortunately, women who consume a​ great deal of​ black tea do not appear to​ be protected from the​ onset of​ breast cancer. Since black tea is​ more popular in​ Western nations than green tea, such news can be disappointing. But the​ fact that green tea’s popularity is​ gaining strength in​ the​ West means that Western women could enjoy the​ same breast cancer protection that green tea drinkers in​ the​ Far East have enjoyed for​ years.
Green Tea and​ Breast Cancer Recurrence
But what about women who have already experienced breast cancer? is​ it​ possible for​ them to​ reduce their chances of​ a​ recurrence by downing cups of​ green tea?
As you might expect, scientific researchers have been asking the​ same questions. for​ instance, a​ Japanese research team addressed those issues in​ their article, Regular Consumption of​ Green Tea and​ the​ Risk of​ Breast Cancer Recurrence Followup Study from the​ Hospitalbased Epidemiologic Research Program at​ Aichi Cancer Center HERPACC, Japan.
As the​ Asian researchers noted, various studies indicate that green tea can inhibit the​ development and​ growth of​ tumors. Given that fact, they thought it​ helpful to​ examine the​ link between regular green tea consumption and​ the​ risk of​ a​ recurrence of​ breast cancer.
The researchers studied 1160 new surgical cases of​ female breast cancers between June of​ 1990 and​ August of​ 1998. About 12 percent, or​ 133 of​ the​ subjects, appeared to​ experience a​ cancer recurrence. But those women who consumed three or​ more cups of​ green tea each day were less likely to​ see their breast cancer make a​ comeback.
The reduced rate of​ recurrence was most likely among those women with stage 1 and​ stage 2 breast cancer. However, the​ link was not apparent for​ those women with more advanced stages of​ the​ cancer.
Cautiously Optimistic
The researchers cautioned that these results need to​ be interpreted carefully. However, they do suggest that breast cancer patients who drink green tea daily may be able to​ prevent their cancer from returning—especially if​ their cancer was diagnosed in​ the​ early stages. Therefore, the​ research team has reason to​ be cautiously optimistic about the​ cancerfighting capabilities of​ green tea.
A Closer Look at​ Green Tea
In order to​ fully understand the​ potential of​ green tea as​ a​ cancer prevention method, it​ is​ first necessary to​ examine the​ composition of​ the​ beverage. There are a​ number of​ compounds that make up green tea, including polyphenols and​ flavonoids, caffeine, carbohydrates, tannins, fluoride, and​ aluminum.
As far as​ cancer prevention is​ concerned, the​ most critical substance is​ the​ polyphenols—chemicals which act as​ antioxidants. These substances block cell replication enzymes and​ therefore prevent the​ growth of​ cancer in​ the​ process.
In a​ number of​ studies, researchers gave rats with breast tumors green tea to​ consume. These rats were then compared with rats which drank water alone. Interestingly enough, the​ rats which had been drinking green tea saw their tumor size reduced considerably. in​ addition, the​ studies indicated that new tumors were less likely to​ develop in​ rats which drank green tea.
How Much is​ Enough?
Still, you might be wondering how much green tea you would need to​ consume in​ order to​ significantly reduce your risk of​ developing breast cancer. Generally, doctors say that you need to​ consume at​ least three to​ four cups of​ green tea each day—without additives such as​ milk or​ sugar—in order to​ see an impact.
Does decaffeinated green tea offer the​ same health benefits? Actually, that depends upon the​ manner in​ which the​ caffeine has been removed from the​ tea. if​ a​ solvent has been used to​ decaffeinate the​ tea, it​ will contain reduced levels of​ EGCG, lessening its effectiveness as​ a​ cancer prevention tool. You might also consider taking your green tea in​ capsule form, although there is​ little hard evidence to​ indicate that the​ capsules are as​ effective as​ the​ beverage in​ cutting cancer risk.
A Final Note
A woman who has experienced breast cancer has no guarantees that her cancer will never reappear. Even if​ she begins drinking green tea, she might still undergo a​ recurrence. However, the​ available evidence suggests that her risk of​ facing a​ second bout of​ breast cancer decreases significantly when she becomes a​ green tea drinker.

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