Medicine

Drinking hot tea increases risk of esophageal cancer for smokers and drinkers

Drinking hot tea increases risk of esophageal cancer for smokers and drinkers

In accordance with the World Cancer Research Foundation Fund International, esophageal cancer is the eight most prevalent types of cancer around the globe.

The study was conducted in China and surveyed approximately 500,000 adults over the course of 9 years.

Meanwhile, daily tea drinkers who consumed hot or burning hot tea and smoked had a 56 percent higher risk of developing esophageal cancer, according to the study. For current smokers who drank burning hot tea daily, the hazard ratio was 2.03.

The researchers collected information about tobacco and alcohol consumption at the beginning of the study.

Excessive alcohol use was defined as consuming at least 15 grams of alcohol per day, which is slightly more than the content of a 12-ounce glass of beer, 1.5 ounce shot of distilled spirits, or 5 ounce glass of wine.

"The Tea Council of the U.S. confidently reiterates that tea is associated with more health benefits than harm - but that alcohol and tobacco appear to remain risk factors for esophageal cancer", Goggi said in a statement.

"Irritating the lining of the esophagus could lead to increased inflammation and more rapid turnover of the cells", he said.

Drinking burning hot tea wasn't linked with risk of oesophageal cancer in non-smokers.

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While some prior research has suggested tea may help protect against tumors in the digestive tract, other studies have shown repeated consumption of very hot food or drink might damage the esophagus and help tumors take hold, the researchers note.

"People probably do not estimate their tea temperature perfectly, and this is one of the main limitations of the study", said Neal Freedman, author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

People were only asked about tea, alcohol and tobacco consumption at the start of the study.

"Those of us who drink hot beverages often should be prudent and wait for the liquid to cool a bit first", Farin Kamangar and Neel Friedman, two public health researchers in USA academic institutions, wrote in a commentary in the same issue of the journal.

The researchers' conclusion that people who smoke and drink excessively might want to cut out hot tea seems odd. "It's very, very hot".

'Of importance, however, is that the accumulated literature suggests little risk from hot drinks at temperatures below 65C (149F).

The Tea Council of the United States of America said in a statement that the health benefits of tea outweigh the possible risks.

The Chinese study is being viewed as significant as it is among the world's largest studies on hot beverages and the esophageal cancer risk. The risk of this cancer is more in men than women.


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