Nothing like a cup of tea to make you feel better. But according to a new study, it would seem that drinking a very hot cup of the drug could increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society examined data collected from 50,000 10-year-olds aged 40 to 75 in Golestan, Iran. They found that drinking 700 ml of tea a day – about two large cups – at 60 ° C or higher was associated with a risk of esophageal cancer 90% higher than those who drank it at a lower temperature .
In total, 317 new cases of esophageal cancer were identified during the study published in the International Journal of Cancer.
"Many people like to drink tea, coffee or other hot drinks," said Dr. Farhad Islami, the book's main author. "However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, so it is advisable to wait for hot drinks to cool before drinking."
If you add milk to your tea or let it cool before drinking it, you are unlikely to consume it at these dangerous temperatures. However, in some areas of South America, Asia and Africa, people tend to drink their tea much hotter.
It is not clear why hot tea could be a risk factor in the development of esophageal cancer. But Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told Science Media Center that it seemed like heat was the problem rather than the specific drink.
"It's probably very hot: the jam in the microwave is known to cause damage to the esophagus," he said. "It is possible that the trauma leads to cellular changes and therefore cancer.The paper reviews various possible mechanisms, but this document does not indicate which mechanism is responsible."
He added that the absolute risk is not cited in the paper, which he calculated at about 63 cases per 100,000 population. If hot tea is taken into account, then 17 others will develop esophageal cancer. He suggested that this might have been omitted from the results because it gives such a low risk.
"We can see that all these risks are very low and that an individual has very little impact, but in a country with a high rate of esophageal cancer, the overall impact is potentially significant. important in the United Kingdom, lower rates of esophageal cancer and because of the probably different approach to the consumption of hot drinks.
"This is certainly not a" scare story "when it is placed in a broader context, but avoiding extremely hot drinks will have no negative or even beneficial effects for the health, "he said.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 17,650 new cases of esophageal cancer this year – 13,750 in men and 3,900 in women – and 16,080 people diagnosed with dying .