Wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking

Previous studies have revealed a link between hot tea drinking and risk of oesophagus cancer, but until now, no study has examined this association using prospectively and objectively measured tea drinking temperature.

The oesophagus is the long, hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach, which transports food to the stomach to be digested. The wall of the oesophagus comprises of several layers of tissue, including the mucous membrane, muscle and connective tissue. The oesophagus and stomach are part of the upper gastrointestinal (digestive) system.

Oesophageal cancer usually begins in the cells lining the inside of the oesophagus before spreading outwards through the other layers as it grows.

The two most common forms of oesophageal cancer are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (epidermoid carcinoma): squamous cells are thin, flat cells lining the oesophagus. This cancer is mostly found in the upper and middle part of the oesophagus, but can also occur anywhere along the oesophagus.
  • Adenocarcinoma: glandular cells are secretory cells lining the oesophagus and they produce and release fluids such as mucus. This cancer usually starts in the lower part of the oesophagus, closer to the stomach.

A new International Journal of Cancer study revealed a link between hot tea drinking and risk of oesophagus cancer by following 50,045 individuals aged 40 to 75 years for a median of 10 years.

During follow-up, 317 new cases of oesophagus cancer were identified. Compared with drinking less than 700 ml of tea per day at less than 60°C, drinking 700 ml per day or more at a higher temperature (60°C or higher) was associated with a 90 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer.

“Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of oesophagus cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking,” said lead author Dr. Farhad Islami, of the American Cancer Society.

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