A hot cuppa increases risk of oesophageal cancer, study finds

Drinking hot tea or coffee could increase the risk of cancer. Source: Pexels

Your morning cuppa could be burning your throat, and according to a new study it could also be increasing your risk of cancer. 

Drinking hot tea or coffee, when combined with tobacco and alcohol use, could increase the risk of oesophageal cancer, according to a Chinese study with more than 450,000 participants. 

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that those who enjoy their drinks extra hot, were five times more likely to get oesophageal cancer, if they also smoked or consumed alcohol daily. Even those who don’t touch alcohol or cigarettes, but drink hot tea or coffee, could also be at risk, experts warned. 

Oesophageal cancer is a cancer of the muscular tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world, and there are over 1,400 cases of oesophageal cancer in Australia, each year. 

The researchers followed 456,155 Chinese men and women aged 30 to 79 for a median of 9.2 years. Oesophageal cancer is one of the leading causes of death in China; nearly 208 473 patients died of oesophageal cancer in 2010.  

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Lead researcher Dr Jun Lv said, “these findings suggest for oesophageal cancer prevention, it is important to abstain from high-temperature tea if you are an alcohol consumer and smoker”.

The team found that high-temperature drinking, combined with alcohol consumption raised the risk five times, while smokers who drank hot drinks daily doubled their risk. 

Previous studies have hinted that drinking hot tea or coffee daily could increase the risk of oesophageal cancer, including a 2016 study by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

While the results may sound alarming, researchers say there is an optimal temperature for your drinks. If you drink tea or coffee below 65°C, there’s no need to stop your daily fix!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree? Do you drink your tea or coffee extra hot? 

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