Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Drinking hot tea doubles risk of cancer

Drinking hot tea doubles risk of cancer

As long you're letting your tea cool a bit, or adding cold milk, you're unlikely to be raising your risk.

Ah, tea - it's the most widely consumed drink in the world, and a staple of the Asian (and, indeed, global) diet and lifestyle.

Hot beverage lovers may now have to think twice before sipping on a cuppa full of a burning coffee or tea, following a new scientific study on the impact of the habit.

The IARC examined studies that mostly looked at mate, a type of tea that is traditionally drunk at very hot temperatures, mainly in South America, Asia, and Africa.

Drinking more than 700 milliliters of tea at higher than 60 degrees Celsius, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, was linked to a 90 percent increased risk of esophageal cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in International Journal of Cancer.

The global study followed the drinking habits of 50,045 people, aged between 40 and 75, in Iran and found 317 new cases of cancer between 2004 and 2017.

The good news, according to Georgina Hill of Cancer Research UK, is that 60 C is "a lot hotter than most cups of tea".

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"In fact, it is probably anything hot: Microwaved jam has been known to cause esophageal injury".

"Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages,"said lead author Dr. Farhad Islami".

He added that the absolute risk is not quoted in the paper, which he calculated at about 63 cases per 100,000 people.

Professor Mel Greaves, from The Institute of Cancer Research, said: "It isn't clear why or how hot liquid has this apparent effect".

"It can be seen that all these risks are very low, and for an individual have very little impact, but across a country with high rates of oesophageal cancer, the overall impact is potentially important".

The researchers behind the new study, including from the University of Cambridge, concluded: "Our results substantially strengthen the existing evidence supporting an association between hot beverage drinking and (oesophageal cancer)".

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