Drinking scalding hot tea is related to an increased risk of esophageal cancer in individuals who smoke and drink alcohol, two habits that already make many cancers more likely, a Chinese report suggests.
Among Chinese adults who drank at least one beer, cocktail or glass of wine every day, the individuals who also consumed burning hot tea daily were 5 times more likely to develop esophageal malignancy than individuals who drank tea at any temperature less than once a week, the research found.
For current smokers, drinking scalding hot tea daily was related to roughly twice the risk of esophageal cancer as consuming tea less than weekly. Study co-author Dr. Jun Lv of Peking University Health Science Center said, “Avoiding both excessive uses of alcohol and tobacco is the most important step for esophageal cancer prevention”.
“Under this increased risk of esophageal cancer from smoking and drinking liquor, if individuals like drinking exceptionally hot tea, the risk of developing cancer will be synergistically higher,” Lv said by email. However, by itself, drinking hot tea doesn’t increase cancer risk, Lv said.
China is among the countries with the highest incidence of esophageal cancer, scientists note in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Since tea drinkers in China, particularly men, will likely drink alcohol and smoke, previous examinations haven’t offered a clear picture or in the case of burning hot tea may be an independent risk factor for esophageal tumors.
While some earlier research has recommended tea may help protect against tumors in the digestive tract, other examinations have demonstrated repeated consumption of very hot food or drink may harm the esophagus and help tumors take hold, the scientists note.
For the current study, specialists examined information on 456,155 adults ages 30 to 79 who completed surveys about their smoking, alcohol and tea habits. Toward the beginning of the study, none of the participants had cancer. Analysts followed half of the participants for at least 9 years.
During the examination, 1,731 individuals developed esophageal tumors. Individuals who drank scalding hot tea consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and also smoked had more than five times the risk of esophageal cancer than people who didn’t do any of these things.
The research wasn’t a controlled experiment intended to demonstrate whether or how the temperature of tea may affect the risk of esophageal tumors. Another limitation is that study participant reported on their own smoking and drinking habits, and their reports could be unreliable.
Scientists also only had information on tea consumption from one point in time, when individuals joined the research, making it difficult to know how changing habits may have affected the cancer risk. “Individuals most likely don’t estimate their tea temperature perfectly, and this is one of the main
limitations of the research,” said Neal Freedman, author of an accompanying editorial and a specialist with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
“Drinking tea at a lower temperature should not be considered as a replacement for smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake,” Freedman said by email.
“All things considered, accumulating information recommend that drinking very hot tea may also increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it might be prudent for individuals who drink very hot beverages to wait until the point that it cools down a bit before drinking, regardless of whether they also smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.”