Drinking Very Hot Tea Could Be A Cancer Risk

A new study seems to warn that drinking a moderate amount of very hot beverages every day could put you at a much higher risk for developing esophageal cancer.  Specifically, the study suggests that drinking 700 mL—approximately three cups—every day, of beverages at a temperature of at least 140 degrees F could put you at a 90 percent higher risk for esophageal cancer. 

The study followed at least 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 75 for a median duration of 10 years.  Analyzing the data during a follow-up period, the researchers found that 317 of those involved went on to develop esophageal cancer.  

Esophageal cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that affects the tube connecting the throat with the stomach. The National Cancer Institute attests there were about 17,290 diagnoses in America, alone, last year. Unfortunately, this is quite a deadly form of cancer with no more than 20 percent of patients surviving past 5 years after diagnosis. 

It is also unfortunate that this is not the first time very hot beverages has been linked to elevated cancer risk.  It was only a few years ago—2016, to be exact—that the World Health Organization released a new report indicating that “very hot” beverages—of any kind—has the potential to raise cancer risk. In fact, the study classified “very hot beverages” as “probably carcinogenic.”  

Indeed, the researchers concluded, “Our results substantially strengthen the existing evidence supporting an association between hot beverage drinking and [esophageal cancer risk].”

The previous study particularly observed the effect in countries like China, Iran, and some located in South America.  In these regions, it is not only common to drink tea, but the tea they drink is often served at extremely high temperatures (above 65C, which is about 150F). 

Lead study author Dr. Farhad Islami, of the American Cancer Society, comments “Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking.”

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