Two cups of a tea day may slash the risk of skin cancer, according to new research.
Scientists found that tea-drinkers were at least 65 per cent less likely to get certain types of tumour.
The findings, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, show tea appears to protect the body against squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas.
These types of tumours are not as dangerous as malignant melanomas, which have a high mortality rate, but do affect nearly 70,000 people in Britain every year.
They are usually caused by too much exposure to the sun’s rays and grow slowly over a period of months or even years.
Squamous cell carcinomas normally appear on the face and turn into an ulcer-like growth that does not heal.
Basal cell carcinomas normally show up as a painless lump that gradually expands in size.
Although they do not normally spread through the body, they still need to be removed through surgery.
Tea is packed with powerful disease-fighting chemicals and its ability to ward off illness is well known. Studies have found it can protect against heart disease, ovarian cancer and stress.
In the latest study, carried out at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, scientists analysed more than 1,400 patients aged between 25 and 74 with the types of tumour.
They compared their diet, drinking habits and lifestyle with a similar group who did not have cancer. Regular tea drinkers were 65 per cent less likely to have squamous cell carcinoma and almost 80 per less at risk of a basal cell carcinoma.
By Pat Hagan, The Scotsman.com, April 2007
(Article URL: http://news.scotsman.com/health.cfm?id=600802007)