Drinking Hot Beverages Like Tea Linked to Esophageal Cancer

Although there have been links between esophageal cancer and drinking hot tea, this was the first study to examine a specific temperature.

A new study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, has examined the association between drinking hot tea and the risk of esophageal cancer using prospectively and objectively measured tea drinking temperature.

Investigators followed 50,045 individuals between the ages of 40 to 75 years for approximately 10 years in order to determine specific temperatures that exhibited the correlation. During the follow-up, 317 new cases of esophageal cancer were identified.

Compared with drinking less than 700 ml 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% greater risk of esophageal cancer, according to the press release.

Lead author Dr. Farhad Islami, of the American Cancer Society, cautions those who enjoy hot beverages in a prepared statement.

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