Not Your Cuppa Tea? Study Suggests Drinking Hot Tea Doubles The Risk Of Cancer

Not Your Cuppa Tea? Study Suggests Drinking Hot Tea Doubles The Risk Of Cancer

Drinking hot tea increases the risk of cancer. However, it isn't the tea that's causing the problem. It's the temperature!

Drinking a hot cup of tea is one of the first things people do in the mornings. That's how most people start off their day. There are several benefits of drinking tea on a daily basis - it helps to lose weight, it contains antioxidants, it apparently helps reduce the chances of heart disease or a stroke, etc. However, a new study found that drinking two hot cups of tea in a day increases the risk of the individual getting cancer. Researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently conducted a study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, to discuss the association of hot tea and esophageal cancer. Researchers found that people who drink more than 700ml of tea which is warmer than 60-degree Celcius makes the individual more prone to cancer, as compared to those people who drink lesser tea or drink at a cooler temperature.

This means that two large and hot cups of tea a day are enough to activate the cancer cells in one's system. The study looked at more than 50,000 people in Golestan, a province in northeastern Iran. As reported by CNN, Dr. Farhad Islami, of the American Cancer Society and the study's lead author said, "Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is, therefore, advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking."


Previous studies have found a link between hot tea and esophageal cancer. However, this study was the first of all that could exactly pinpoint the temperature of the tea that leads to the disease. It shows all the hot tea consumers in the world when the tea is supposed to be considered as too hot to drink. A rule most people should start to follow unless they want to contract the disease. Esophageal cancer is known to be one of the most common cancers in the world. 

Esophageal cancer is also a fatal disease that takes the lives of approximately 400,000 people in just the span of a year, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This kind of cancer is usually caused by repeated damage to the esophagus that is a result of excess smoke, alcohol, acid reflux, and now even really hot beverages. The esophagus is a delicate part of our body. It is a long tube that helps us swallow food and liquids and send them to the stomach.  Esophageal cancer usually starts in the cells that line the inside of an esophagus. 


The American Cancer Society estimates that 13,750 new cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed in men and 3,900 new cases in women in the United States in 2019. The team of researchers that conducted the recent study followed 50,045 people, aged between 40 and 75, for an average of 10 years. Between the years 2004 and 2017, the researchers came across round 317 new cases of esophageal cancer. However, more study is required for scientists to determine the exact relationship between tea and cancer. 

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According to Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the heat was causing the problem and not the beverage itself. Evans was not a part of the research team. However, he said, "In fact, it is probably anything hot: Microwaved jam has been known to cause esophageal injury. It is possible that the trauma leads to cell changes and hence to cancer." Sometimes, people are completely unaware of the fact that their esophagus is getting damaged. Not unless they start to witness a lot of pain in the throat.


Tea is one of the world's most common beverages. In the United States or the United Kingdom, tea is rarely consumed at around 65 degrees Celcius. However, in countries like Russia, Iran, Turkey, and several other South American countries, the beverage is generally consumed at a much higher temperature. "If you go to the Middle East or to Russia, they drink it out of a samovar that's constantly under heat," said Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the USA told CNN last year. "It's very, very hot."


Dr. James Doidge, a senior research associate at University College London, said that hot drinks were an already established risk factor. "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 risk of gastrointestinal cancers," Doidge, who was not involved in the study, said. This cancer can be treated through surgery if detected at an early stage but why take the risk at all.


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