Prostate cancer, the second most common type of cancer in men, is predicted to result in an estimated 220,000 cases in the United States this year. For black men, prostate cancer is a more serious threat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black men have the highest rate of developing prostate cancer, and are more likely to die from the disease than men of other races.
The good news is that over the past decade, science has made significant progress in the prostate cancer fight, specifically with emphasis on chemoprevention — the use of agents to prevent the development or progression of prostate cancer.
Along those lines, a recent study looked at the effectiveness of the active components in green tea to prevent prostate cancer development in men who have premalignant lesions.
Why green tea? In Asian countries, where 20 percent of green tea is consumed, the prostate cancer death rates are among the lowest in the world. Yet when Asian men migrate to the United States and change their dietary habits, their risk of prostate cancer increases. Studies show catechins, substances in green tea, inhibit cancer cell growth and boost cancer cell death.
For the new study, a research team evaluated the effect of a one-year green tea intervention on suppressing prostate cancer development in men with premalignant lesions. They gave decaffeinated green tea capsules twice a day to 48 men and placebo tablets to 49 men. After the year, the men who took the green tea capsule had a significant decrease in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is a biomarker that, in combination with other risk factors, is used to screen patients for prostate cancer; high levels signify a greater risk of prostate cancer.