Hot tea can increases your risk of esophageal cancer

Kristen Gonzales
February 7, 2018

However, later, patients suffering from this cancer may complain of difficulties in swallowing, heartburn, losing appetite and weight loss etc.

Of the 456,155 people in the study, 42% of the men and 16% of the women drank tea daily. Previous research has suggested, however, that the regular consumption of very hot fluids or food can harm the cells lining the esophagus, leaving the tissue susceptible to damage from cancer-causing carcinogens. Because of the large size, it may set the bar for years to come, according to Neal Freedman, senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the new research.

A study involving almost 500,000 adults in China suggests that smokers and heavy drinkers who drink hot tea may have increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. Researchers asked participants about their tea drinking habits, along with other lifestyle choices, through a questionnaire.

Over 9,000 new cases of oesophageal cancer were recorded in the UK in 2015, according to Cancer Research UK.

Although the study showed no higher odds of esophageal cancer in participants who drank only tea every day - scalding or not - the study authors emphasize that "chronic thermal injury to the esophageal mucosa may initiate carcinogenesis", or the change of normal cells to cancer cells.

Drinking extremely hot tea may increase the risk of oesophageal cancer by up to five times, especially if a person also consumes alcohol and is a smoker, a study has warned.

But by itself, drinking hot tea doesn't increase cancer risk, Lv said.

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Lead researcher Dr Jun Lv, from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, said: "These findings suggest for oesophageal cancer prevention, it is important to abstain from high-temperature tea if you are an alcohol consumer and smoker".

Oesophageal cancer is a serious and often fatal disease with a "persistently poor survival rate" according to the study.

The Tea Council of the U.S. said in a statement that the health benefits of tea outweigh the possible risks. Additional studies are needed to confirm the associations found in this study.

It was published in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Observational studies like this can show links between factors - such as tea drinking and cancer - but can't prove that one causes another, as it's not possible to account for all the potential alternative explanations for the link. At the beginning of the study, none of adults had cancer.

"However, the results of this study should not cause people to abandon their favorite beverage", Dr. Kamminger wrote.

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