Drinking hot tea linked with elevated risk of esophageal cancer


The data echoes a China-based study that was released a year ago (2018), that concluded a lifestyle steeped heavily in alcohol, tobacco and frequent drinking of hot beverages could increase the risk of the same type of cancer.

Drinking 700ml per day of tea at 60C or higher was "consistently associated" with raising the risk of the disease. However, the findings only applied to people also using tobacco and/or alcohol.

The study of over 500,000 people found those who drink tea at 60°C or more were nearly twice as likely to develop the condition.

"However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of oesophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking". It is usually caused by repeated injury to the esophagus due to smoke, alcohol, acid reflux and - maybe - hot liquids.

Esophageal cancer is a cancer of the esophagus, the pipe through which swallowed food and liquids travel towards the stomach. Between 2004 and 2017, the researchers detected 317 new cases of esophageal cancer.

A team of researchers from Iran found that tea drinkers who preferred their beverage at temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher and drank more than 700 ml (roughly two large cups) a day had a 90% higher risk of developing esophageal cancer compared to those who consumed less tea and at cooler temperatures.

Not an insubstantial risk but one that should be balanced against the pleasure that you personally derive from your daily ritual, the unknown but probably smaller gains that you would get from changing your habit now, and the fact that if you don't develop oesophageal cancer then something else will surely be along to fill that role sooner or later. Evans was not involved in the study. But this study, say the authors, is the first to pinpoint a specific temperature of tea.

The bottom line is you can likely keep drinking your tea, coffee, and cocoa without a problem - just keep the heat down.

Dr. James Doidge, senior research associate at University College London, said that hot drinks were an established risk factor for esophageal cancer. "It's very, very hot".