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Study: Green tea may prevent oral cancer, improve testing methods

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Drinking green tea may prevent the development of oral cancer, new research suggests.

A study by scientists in the thoracic head and neck medical oncology department at the University of Texas examined the progress of 41 patients with pre-malignant mouth lesions during a treatment regimen that included either 500 milligram, 750 milligram or 1,000 milligram doses of green tea extract for three months. Other patients were given a placebo, HealthDay News reports.

The study found that 59 percent of those who took the highest dose of green tea extract showed a clinical response, compared to 18 percent of those who took a placebo.

The scientists may also have identified certain biomarkers that could predict cancer development and foster cancer testing. They noted that patients who had moderate dysplasia, or abnormal cell growth, took longer to develop oral cancer if they were taking the green tea extract.

Lead researcher, Dr Vassiliki Papadimitrakopoulo warned that more research must be done to claim the prevention benefits of the treatment, which is equivalent to eight to 10 cups of green tea per day.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer kills about one person every hour, and only half of oral cancer patients survive for more than five years after their diagnosis.

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