Can your morning fix of chai latte do more than give you a wake-up jolt? That’s what researchers at the University of Arizona-based Arizona Cancer Center are trying to find out.
The aim of the ongoing Southeastern Arizona Tea Study: to see if the antioxidants in green tea have any effect in reducing the risk of lung cancer.
The center is currently recruiting ex-smokers between the ages of 40 and 80. Participants can sign up at either of the two clinics in Scottsdale and Tucson.
“When a person smokes, there is damage in the lungs, which increases risk of lung cancer. We’re trying to see how to reduce that damage,” program coordinator Maribel Tobar said.
Specifically, the idea is to see if there’s any relation between tea-drinking and a decrease in damage to fat, protein or genetic material, which is associated with risk of onset of cancer, Tobar added.
According to the National Cancer Institute, researchers have long been interested in the antioxidants called catechins found in tea, which may inhibit the growth of cancer, although studies conducted thus far have proved inconclusive.
For this study, volunteers need to take a breathing test to determine their lung capacity. Blood and urine tests, among others, also will be conducted, and diet and nutrition information evaluated. Those selected will drink green tea for six months and will need to maintain a daily log of the same throughout the study. Participants will be given a nutrition evaluation when they’re done.
Tobar said the study entails approximately a seven-month commitment.
Since the study is preventive, it’s not for people who already have cancer. “If they did have cancer, volunteers should be cancer free for at least five years,” Tobar said.
Tobar added that they’re looking for heavy smokers, and recruitment will depend on how many cigarettes a volunteer smoked and for how long. Participants need to meet those requirements of smoking history and then need to be willing to make the time commitment.
Tobar said the study results are expected to be announced in 2010.
Where to go
Scottsdale Healthcare Shea
9003 E. Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 355-8123