Love drinking piping, hot tea? It may increase risk of oesophageal cancer


Very hot tea has been linked with a deadly cancer for some people. Smokers who drank hot tea (but not alcohol) daily had a double risk.

Cancer affects the gullet which is the passage by which food passes from the mouth to the stomach, particularly in people in their 60s and 70s.

In the early stages it does not usually cause any symptoms when the tumour is small but when it grows symptoms begin to show.

However, later, patients suffering from this cancer may complain of difficulties in swallowing, heartburn, losing appetite and weight loss etc. The different disease development may be the result of different exposures and risk factors.

The study was led by Beijing researchers Dr. Canqing Yu and Dr. Haijing Tang of Peking University. Because of the large size, it may set the bar for years to come, according to Neal Freedman, senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the new research.

"Although several studies have demonstrated inhibitory effects of tea against tumourigenesis in the digestive tract, chronic thermal injury to the oesophageal mucosa may initiate carcinogenesis", he went on to further explain.

Now, the Chinese researchers have found that the association between the hot tea drinking and esophageal cancer risk is "dependent on alcohol and tobacco consumption" habits.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 456,000 Chinese adults between ages 30 and 79 who didn't have cancer at the study's start.

A study involving almost 500,000 adults in China suggests that smokers and heavy drinkers who drink hot tea may have increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

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Lv and team uncovered a positive correlation between drinking burning-hot tea, regular alcohol intake, and smoking and a higher risk of esophageal cancer.

Likewise, the hazard ratio for current smokers who drank burning-hot tea daily was 2.03.

It was found that those who drank hot tea, consumed too much alcohol and also smoked, were at least five times more likely to have cancer of the esophagus than those who did none of the three.

The study comes against the backdrop of earlier research nine years ago that had hinted that hot tea may be an additional risk factor for esophageal cancer, a type of cancer that has poor survival rates worldwide and has always been linked to alcohol and smoking.

In a 2016 review in The Lancet Oncology, drinking beverages this hot was classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

The Tea Council of the United States of America said that the health benefits of tea outweigh the possible risks. "But even in the hot areas, which is in the Northeast and West Coast, most people will be adding something to it, whether it's a little sweetener or lemon", slightly decreasing the liquid's temperature.

'For these and other reasons, these findings should be interpreted cautiously'.

Researchers wanted to look at links between hot tea, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, as previous studies have shown conflicting results.

'Most people drink their tea and coffee at a temperature that seems unlikely to cause cancer'.