Esophageal Cancer Risk Increases with Hot Tea Consumption

Smoking and alcohol consumption may exacerbate the risk of esophageal cancer associated with hot tea.

Consuming hot tea may increase the risk of esophageal cancer among smokers who drink alcohol, according to a recent study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Esophageal cancer rates are increasing worldwide and are linked to poor patient outcomes, especially in less-developed countries and among men. The authors noted that China has the highest esophageal cancer rate and Chinese men who drink tea are also more likely to smoke and drink alcohol.

Included in the study were 456,155 patients aged 30 to 79 years who were not diagnosed with cancer or who reduced their tea drinking, alcohol intake, or cigarette smoking at baseline. Patients were followed for 9.2 years.

The authors discovered a synergistic link between drinking hot tea with excessive alcohol intake or smoking with the risk of esophageal cancer, according to the study.

The risk of esophageal cancer was found to be 5 times higher among patients who drank hot tea, drank alcohol, and smoked compared with those who did not partake in any of those habits.

However, the researchers noted that hot tea consumption was not linked to an increased cancer risk among patients who abstained from alcohol and smoking, according to the study.

These findings suggest that patients who drink alcohol excessively or smoke may benefit from not drinking hot tea, according to the authors.

Another recent study found that Americans are unaware of behaviors that have been proven to cause cancer. Less than 4 in 10 participants realized alcohol consumption is linked to cancer, despite growing evidence that it can cause colorectal, breast, liver, and esophageal cancers.

Increasing education about the link between cancer and consumption of alcohol and hot beverages would likely reduce the burden of esophageal cancer, the authors concluded.