MEN who are heavy tea drinkers may be more likely to develop prostate cancer, according to new research.
A team from Glasgow University tracked the health of more than 6,000 male volunteers over a period of 37 years.
They found men who drank over seven cups of tea per day had a 50pc higher risk of developing prostate cancer than moderate and non-tea drinkers.
The team said it did not know if tea was a risk factor or if drinkers lived to ages where cancer was more common.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in Scotland and diagnosed cases increased by 7.4pc between 2000 and 2010.
The study began in Scotland in 1970 and gathered data from 6,016 male volunteers, all aged between 21 and 75.
Scientists found that more than seven cups a day raised the chances of men developing the disease by 50pc. But whether the link is causal or due to coincidence is still unknown.
Study leader Dr Kashif Shafique, from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, said: "Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea.
"We don't know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway."
Chris Garner, a member of Edinburgh and Lothian Prostate Cancer Support Group, said the research would not stop him drinking tea.
He has adopted a healthier diet since being diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago and drinks green tea. Mr Garner said: "As usual you get evidence on one side and you get evidence on the other and you're left in the middle trying to decide who's right.
"But I have to say, I don't think tea is very high on the agenda if you're looking at diet, lifestyle and so on.
"There are other things which come well above tea," he added.