Drinking two or more cups of tea per day may dramatically cut the risk of ovarian cancer, a Swedish study of more than 61,000 women said on Monday.
The findings by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm were based on a look back at the habits and long-term health of the women, the report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine said.
Of the women recruited for the study that began in 1987, two-thirds reported drinking tea. When it concluded at the end of 2004, 301 participants had developed ovarian cancer, a particularly deadly form of the disease.
“We observed a 46 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer in women who drank two or more cups of tea per day compared with non-drinkers,” study authors Susanna Larsson and Alicja Wolk wrote. “Each additional cup of tea per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer.”
Black and green teas are believed to contain antioxidants that help ward off the cell mutation that leads to cancer.
The researchers cautioned that additional studies were needed to confirm their findings.
Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in about 22,000 U.S. women this year and 80 percent of cases are not detected until the cancer has spread. That means more than 16,000 U.S. women will die of ovarian cancer in 2005, according to the American Cancer Society.