Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drinking Very Hot Tea Can Increase The Risk Of Throat Cancer

Date:
March 28, 2009
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
People are advised to wait a few minutes before drinking a cup of freshly-boiled tea today as a new study finds that drinking very hot tea (70 degrees C or more) can increase the risk of cancer of the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.

People are advised to wait a few minutes before drinking a cup of freshly-boiled tea today as a new study finds that drinking very hot tea (70°C or more) can increase the risk of cancer of the oesophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.
Credit: iStockphoto/Pali Rao

People are advised to wait a few minutes before drinking a cup of freshly-boiled tea today as a new study, published on the British Medical Journal website, finds that drinking very hot tea (70°C or more) can increase the risk of cancer of the oesophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.

Related Articles


The study was carried out in northern Iran, where large amounts of hot tea are drunk every day.

But an accompanying editorial says these findings are not cause for alarm and the general advice is to allow foods and beverages to cool a little before swallowing.

Cancers of the oesophagus kill more than 500,000 people worldwide each year and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the commonest type. In Europe and America, it is mainly caused by tobacco and alcohol use and is more common in men than in women, but drinking hot beverages is also thought to be a risk factor.

Golestan Province in northern Iran has one of the highest rates of OSCC in the world, but rates of smoking and alcohol consumption are low and women are as likely to have a diagnosis as men. Tea drinking, however, is widespread, so researchers set out to investigate a possible link between tea drinking habits and risk of OSCC.

They studied tea drinking habits among 300 people diagnosed with OSCC and a matched group of 571 healthy controls from the same area. Nearly all participants drank black tea regularly, with an average volume consumed of over one litre a day.

Compared with drinking warm or lukewarm tea (65°C or less), drinking hot tea (65-69°C) was associated with twice the risk of oesophageal cancer, and drinking very hot tea (70°C or more) was associated with eight-fold increased risk.

Likewise, compared with drinking tea four or more minutes after being poured, drinking tea less than two minutes after pouring was associated with a five-fold higher risk.

There was no association between the amount of tea consumed and risk of cancer.

To minimise errors between reported and actual tea temperatures, the researchers then measured the actual temperature that tea was consumed by nearly 50,000 residents of the same area. This ranged from less than 60°C to more than 70°C and there was a moderate agreement between reported tea drinking temperature and actual temperature measurements.

Our results show a strong increase in the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma associated with drinking hot or very hot tea, say the authors.

Previous studies from the United Kingdom have reported an average temperature preference of 56-60°C among healthy populations.

They suggest that informing the population about the hazards of drinking hot tea may be helpful in reducing the incidence of oesophageal cancer in Golestan and in other high risk populations where similar habits are prevalent.

These results provide persuasive evidence that drinking tea at temperatures greater than 70°C markedly increases the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, says David Whiteman from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia in an accompanying editorial.

This report also lends support to the notion that thermal injury may be a cause of epithelial cancers, though he points out that the way in which heat promotes tumour development is not clear and warrants further investigation.

However, he stresses that these findings are not cause for alarm, and they should not reduce public enthusiasm for the time honoured ritual of drinking tea. Instead he suggests waiting at least four minutes before drinking a cup of freshly boiled tea, or more generally allowing foods and beverages to cool from "scalding" to "tolerable" before swallowing.

An accompanying video features interviews with some of the researchers as well as original footage from Iran in the early days of the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Drinking Very Hot Tea Can Increase The Risk Of Throat Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326215100.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2009, March 28). Drinking Very Hot Tea Can Increase The Risk Of Throat Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326215100.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Drinking Very Hot Tea Can Increase The Risk Of Throat Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326215100.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins