Background: The current study evaluated the association between tea consumption and head and neck cancer (HNC) in Taiwan, where tea is a major agricultural product and a popular beverage. Methods: Interviews regarding tea consumption (frequency, duration, and types) were conducted with 396 HNC cases and 413 controls. Unconditional logistic regression was performed to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of HNC risk associated with tea drinking, adjusted for sex, age, education, cigarette smoking, betel quid chewing, and alcohol drinking. Results: A reduced HNC risk associated with tea drinking (OR for every cup per day = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.93-0.99; OR for ≥5 cups per day = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.39-0.94) was observed. The association was especially significant for pharyngeal cancer (OR for every cup per day = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88-0.98; OR for ≥5 cups per day = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.16-0.66). A significant inverse association between HNC and tea consumption was observed particularly for green tea. Conclusions: This study suggests that tea drinking may reduce the risk of HNC. The anticancer property of tea, if proven, may offer a natural chemopreventive measure to reduce the occurrence of HNC.
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