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GREEN TEA MAY KEEP CANCER AWAY

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Green tea, that beverage of choice for millions of Asians, may help protect regular drinkers against cancer of the esophagus, a study concludes.

Following up on findings that green tea reduced the incidence of esophageal cancer in animals, researchers studied the records of 902 victims of the disease and of 1,552 healthy people in Shanghai. They concluded what worked on mice and rats apparently works on humans, too."Chinese men and women who drink green tea have a reduced risk of esophageal cancer of up to 60 percent," said the National Cancer Institute, which reported results of the study in the June 1 edition of its Journal.

`This is the first study to show that association, that protective effect," said Joseph K. McLaughlin, the lead researcher from the institute.

"The finding in humans that we observed in Shanghai confirms the animal findings, so it's not exactly a shot out of the blue," Mc-Laugh-lin said.

Eighty percent of tea consumed in the United States and other Western countries is black. The other 20 percent is green tea, consumed mainly in Asian countries.

McLaughlin, one of six researchers from NCI and the Shanghai Cancer Institute, said the difference seems to rest with polyphenols - compounds found in green tea.