Could drinking hot tea lead to increased risk of throat cancer?

Could drinking hot tea lead to increased risk of throat cancer?

Consumption of tea at high temperatures in combination with alcohol and tobacco exposure is associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer, according to a study published online February 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Adding drinking and smoking to the mix "considerably complicate [s] the association between tea drinking and esophageal cancer risk".

For the study, the researchers followed for about 10 years 456,155 participants aged 30 to 79 in China.

The researchers also found that people who reported taking their tea burning hot were also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol daily, drink more cups of tea a day, and take stronger tea.

"Tea, one of the most common beverages worldwide, usually is consumed at elevated temperatures", lead author Dr Jun Lv at the Peking University Health Science Center told the Daily Mail.

Researchers are now set to investigate whether drinking tea at high temperatures also increases the risk of oesophageal cancer.

This is, however, not a breaking news because previous trials have already shown that the main causes of esophageal cancer are smoking and alcohol abuse.

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Smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol both raise your risk for developing esophageal cancer, which affects the tube connecting the throat to the stomach.

The researchers noted the temperature at which the tea was typically consumed and had the participants record their daily lifestyle habits at the beginning of the study.

But drinking tea isn't linked to higher cancer risk on its own.

China is among the countries with the highest oesophageal cancer incidence and tea drinkers, especially Chinese men, are more likely to also smoke and drink alcohol. They can abstain from drinking hot tea to prevent esophageal cancer or quit smoking and excessive alcohol use.

'However, the results of this study should not cause people to abandon their favourite beverage. This means that the combined effect of all the mentioned habits may be a big risk factor.

"If you go to the Middle East or to Russian Federation, they drink it out of a samovar that's constantly under heat", said Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the USA. For the people who find it hard to do so, avoiding burning-tea is the alternative solution. It is better to give up on smoking/drinking. Drinking tea is unlikely to be the biggest of their health problems.

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