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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


catechin  listen  (KA-teh-kin)

  A substance found in tea that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are made during normal cell metabolism (chemical changes that take place in a cell). They can build up in cells and cause damage to other molecules. This damage may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Catechins are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer. A catechin is a type of antioxidant.