On March 20, 2019, 6, 2018, “Drinking very hot tea almost doubles risk of cancer, new study says” ran on CNN:
“Many people start their day with a cup of tea. But those who drink it piping hot could be increasing their risk of esophageal cancer, according to a new study.”
“Researchers found that tea drinkers who liked their beverage to be warmer than 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) and consumed more than 700 ml of tea per day — about two large cups– had a 90% higher risk of esophageal cancer, when compared to those who drank less tea and at cooler temperatures.”
Below, David Shersher, MD, Co-Director of the Aerodigestive Program and Thoracic Surgeon at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, shares his comments on the release of this news.
“Numerous smaller or nonrandomized studies since 1930 have attempted to prove that hot beverages, including hot tea, can increase risk of esophageal squamous cell cancer, especially when they are associated with proven high-risk lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
“The newest paper from Iran is interesting in that it gives us an amount and temperature of tea consumed that has a causal association with esophageal squamous cell cancer in their population group. However, in the US, the most common type of esophageal cancer is adenocarcinoma, which is related more to reflux disease and obesity. It is still unknown if drinking hot beverages increases risk of this type of cancer in Americans.
“In 2016, The International Agency of Research (IARC) classified hot beverages as probable carcinogens, and thanks to this new paper in the International Journal of Cancer, we now have a temperature value that we can use to guide safer tea consumption. Nevertheless and most importantly, smoking, alcohol use, uncontrolled reflux disease, and obesity remain the top causes of esophageal cancer.”
David Shersher, MD
Co-Director, Aerodigestive Program
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper