Cancer

Exercise and Green Tea May Help Breast Cancer Survivors Beat the Blues

| by Cancer Consultants

Exercising and drinking green tea may help prevent depression among breast cancer survivors, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.[1]

Depression is a major concern among breast cancer patients and survivors. Some estimates report that the prevalence of depression in this population is as high as 55%.[2] Depression can reduce quality of life and also potentially affect survival.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University conducted a study to determine whether lifestyle factors prevented depression among breast cancer survivors. They analyzed activity levels; food, tea, and alcohol consumption; smoking; and supplement use among 1,399 Chinese women who were treated for breast cancer in Shanghai, China, between 2002 and 2006.

Eighteen months post-diagnosis, 26% of women experienced depressive symptoms and 13% met the criteria for clinical depression. Women appeared to benefit from regular exercise—exercisers were 20% less likely to be mildly or clinically depressed. Furthermore, the higher the exercise level, the lower the likelihood was for depression. When compared with non-exercising women, those who exercised two hours per week were 28% less likely to be depressed, and those who exercised more than that were 42% less likely to be depressed.

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Regular consumption of green tea also appeared to reduce the risk of depression. Among the 183 women who drank tea, the risk of depression was about 36% lower compared with the non-tea drinkers. The majority of tea drinkers (90%) reported drinking green tea.

The researchers concluded that regular exercise and tea consumption could help prevent depression among breast cancer survivors.

References:

[1] Chen X, Lu W, Zheng Y, et al. Exercise, tea consumption, and depression among breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. January 4, 2010.

[2] Burgess C, Cornelius V, Love S, et al. Depression and anxiety in women with early breast cancer: Five year observational cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2005; 330: 702.

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