- A new study adds to the evidence that drinking hot beverages can increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
- The new study said that drinking around 3 cups of hot beverages 140°F or hotter caused the majority of the increase in the risk of esophageal cancer among those observed in the study.
- Drinking liquids that are too hot can cause long-term damage to the cells in the esophagus, which can lead to cancer.
When it’s time to take a break and relax, you might pull out a book or make yourself a nice steaming cup of your favorite tea.
A new study published in the International Journal of Cancer may convince you to wait a few minutes for that tea to cool down a bit before you drink it though. The lead author of the study, Dr. Farhad Islami of the American Cancer Society said that drinking hot beverages, not just tea, can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer — that’s cancer of the esophagus.
Backed up by previous research
This isn’t the first time the issue’s come up. In 2016, the World Health Organization released a report that too hot beverages could be classified as “probably carcinogenic” to humans.
In 2018, a study from China published in the Annals of Internal Medicine also found that an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma in the esophagus was caused by drinking very hot tea.
In the new study, the researchers observed over 50,000 people aged 40 to 75 for a period of 10 years. During a follow-up period, it was found that 317 of the individuals developed esophageal cancer. Data revealed that drinking 700ml (around 3 cups) or more of hot beverages 140°F or hotter daily was associated with 90% of the jump in risk when it came to esophageal cancer. This was as compared to those who drank cooler beverages of the same amount.
The reason behind the increased risk
It’s not exactly clear how drinking hot drinks increase the risk of esophageal cancer, but we know that repeated trauma (damage that can come from drinking too hot liquids) to the esophagus can build up over time. Dr. James Diodge, a senior research associate at University College London who wasn’t involved in the study, gave examples like how sunburn can cause skin cancer or how smoking can lead to lung cancer.
“It doesn’t take a scientist to appreciate that repeated irritation of any body surface increases your risk of cancer. Sunburn gives us skin cancer, smoking gives us lung cancer, and many foods and drinks contribute to [the] risk of gastrointestinal cancers,” Dr. Doidge told Science Media Centre, an independent organization promoting the reporting of evidence-based science.
Source: CBS News