Protection Against Digestive Cancer

by Jon Stout - Date: 2006-12-03 - Word Count: 910 Share This!

There are numerous types of cancer that affect different areas of our digestive systems. Two of the most life threatening are cancers of the biliary tract and gall bladder tumors. Tumors and cancers in this part of the digestive system are rare, with only about 7500 diagnosed each year, but are more often fatal than many other forms of digestive system cancer.

Gall bladder cancer occurs more frequently in women than men, and your likelihood of contracting it increases as you age. Hispanics are more likely to get gall bladder cancer than any other population. It is not usually diagnosed until it is far advanced, which is why the prognosis is usually poor.

We don't fully understand the cause of gall bladder cancer, but we do know that people who suffer from gall stones are more likely to develop it later on. This appears to be because the gall stones cause chronic inflammation in the gall bladder, which can lead to the development of abnormal cells.

Other biliary tract cancers are diagnosed in about 2000-3000 Americans each year. Like gall bladder cancer, it is often not diagnosed until it has reached late stages and often metastasized. Again, the cause is not fully known, but, as with other digestive system cancers, it occurs more frequently in the obese. It also occurs more frequently in Hispanics, American Indians, Eastern Europeans and Japanese.

In recent years, there has been a fair amount of research on the cancer preventative effects of drinking green tea. It appears that green tea has the power to prevent many forms of cancer, including those of the digestive system, like gall bladder cancer and biliary tract cancer.

A study conducted in China attempted to establish a link between consumption of green tea and the prevention of these cancers. The study looked at a large segment of the population. It included 627 patients with various forms of biliary tract cancer (including gall bladder cancer), 1037 cases with biliary stones, and 959 randomly selected control participants.

This study concluded that the women who were regular tea drinkers had (meaning that they drank at least one cup of green tea a day for at least six months) a significantly lower risk of biliary tract cancer and gallbladder cancer - even if they had gall bladder disease - than those who did not drink green tea.*

For men, the study found a slightly lower risk of cancer among the green tea drinkers; however it was not enough to be considered significant. In addition, it was found that a higher than average number of the male participants in the study were smokers, so this may have skewed the results, since smoking increases a person's overall risk of cancer.

Why Green Tea?

Many of us may be surprised to find that green tea is so healthy. The reason is that it's loaded with anti-oxidants in their natural state. Black tea also contains anti-oxidants, but during the fermentation process that black tea undergoes, these anti-oxidants change, and become less healthy than in their original state.

The anti-oxidants in tea are called catechins, part of the flavan-3-ol class of flavonoids. EGCG is one of the catechins contained in tea, and is one of the most potent anti-oxidants around. Because green tea hasn't been fermented, the EGCG is in its most natural and potent state.

Anti-oxidants are so important because they combat the free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are damaging oxygen molecules that occur as a result of our body's process of converting food to energy. If they are left unchecked, they cause cell and DNA damage, which eventually leads to aging and disease.

So, to protect our health, it's important to get anti-oxidants in our diet every day. Fruits and vegetables are good sources, as is coffee, black tea and dark chocolate. But, green tea is one of the very best sources. A diet rich in anti-oxidants can help prevent cancer, heart attack and stroke, as well as general premature aging.

The research regarding cancer is significant. In addition to the study mentioned above regarding digestive cancers, there have been numerous other studies suggesting that green tea can protect against many forms of cancer. In fact, Japan's medical community now considers green tea to be a known cancer preventative.

This news is, of course, quite exciting, but it goes even further. There have also been studies that suggest that green tea may be helpful in treating cancer, too. Several studies have shown that when green tea was used as an adjunct therapy along with traditional chemotherapy, the chemotherapy was more successful. Cancerous cells showed a higher concentration of the cancer drugs when green tea was administered along with the medication.

Some studies have even suggested that green tea may be beneficial in preventing the spread of cancer. It appears that the growth of cancer cells slows significantly or even stops when patients of certain cancers are given green tea in significant quantities.

Of course, green tea is not a magic bullet, and is not designed to replace traditional cancer treatments. However, it certainly appears that green tea is an important tool for protecting your body against many types of cancer and other illnesses, and may even be an effective adjunct treatment for those who already have cancer.

So, add some green tea to your diet. It's delicious and you have nothing to lose. There are no side effects and green tea is well tolerated even by the caffeine sensitive. Drinking green tea may be the simplest thing you can do to protect your health.

Related Tags: cancer, tea, green tea, anti-oxidants, digestive cancer

Jon M. Stout is the Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. Golden Moon Tea carefully selects the finest rare and orthodox teas, which are processed slowly and handcrafted with extreme care. At their website, you can learn more about their current tea offerings, including their exceptional green tea, white tea, black tea, oolong tea (also known as wu-long and wu long tea) and chai. Visit for all details concerning the Golden Moon Tea Company's fine line of teas.

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