Major study links very hot tea with higher risk of esophageal cancer

Kenny Tucker
March 21, 2019

"Our results substantially strengthen the existing evidence supporting an association between hot beverage drinking and ESCC [esophageal cancer]", researchers wrote in their study abstract.

That's according to research conducted by scientists from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, who have discovered a link between drinking boiling hot water and the development of cancer of the oesophagus.

BEFORE you sip that cuppa, consider this - piping hot drinks could increase the risk of oesophageal cancer by 90 per cent, according to a study.

"As long you're letting your tea cool down a bit before you drink it, or adding cold milk, you're unlikely to be raising your cancer risk - and not smoking, keeping a healthy weight and cutting down on alcohol will do much more to stack the odds in your favour".

It's believed to be the first large-scale study where volunteers measured the actual preferred temperature of tea drinkers at its outset, rather than just relying on self-reported perceptions of tea temperature.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, involved 50,045 individuals aged 40 to 75 years.

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The American Cancer Society estimates that 13,750 new cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed in men and 3,900 new cases in women in the United States in 2019.

"In fact, it is probably anything hot: Microwaved jam has been known to cause esophageal injury".

In the United States and Europe, tea is rarely consumed at temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit) - but in places like Russia, Iran, Turkey and South America, it is common to drink tea that hot or even hotter.

It is thought the heat may damage the esophagus, creating repeated injuries that lead to cancer in the same way smoke, alcohol, and acid reflux do.

Professor Mel Greaves, from The Institute of Cancer Research, said: "It isn't clear why or how hot liquid has this apparent effect".

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