Hot Tea Linked to Esophageal Cancer Risk


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

That position goes to Turkey, where people drink 3.157 kg of tea every year, followed by Azerbaijan, where the annual consumption per capita is 2.587 kg.

The study entitled [the] "Effect of Hot Tea Consumption and Its Interactions With Alcohol and Tobacco Use on the Risk for Esophageal Cancer".

At the initial stage, cancer does not usually show any symptoms when a tumour is small, however, when it grows symptoms start to show.

These can include difficulties in swallowing, persistent indigestion or heartburn, bringing up food soon after eating, a loss of appetite and weight loss, or pain in the upper tummy, chest or back. Researchers also only had data on tea consumption from one point in time, when people joined the study, making it impossible to know how changing habits might have impacted the cancer risk. 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.

But it doesn't apply to everyone, just people who smoke or drink alcohol.

The combination of tobacco, alcohol, compounds found in tea, and the negative effects of drinks served at very high temperatures is likely to attack health eventually, Lv and colleagues suggest.

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Prof Jane Green, Professor of Epidemiology and Co-Director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, said: "Hot drinks may increase risk simply by damaging the cells lining the gullet, making them more susceptible to other risk factors, and it is probably wise to avoid anything which might do this but this study does not mean that most people should stop drinking tea". The greatest risk for esophageal cancer was seen for those who drank burning hot tea and 15 g or more of alcohol daily (hazard ratio, 5.00), compared with participants who drank tea less than weekly and consumed fewer than 15g alcohol daily.

"It's important to abstain from high-temperature tea in excessive alcohol consumers and smokers for esophageal cancer prevention", Lv said.

China: Do you take hot tea?

Smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol also increase cancer risk.

Dr Lv said: 'The present study found evidence of increased oesophageal cancer risk with higher tea temperatures.

Researchers were only able to confirm oesophageal cancer from laboratory records for 569 people, and most of these were squamous cell cancer cases.