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Drinking hot tea, or other beverages, found to cause thermal injury, increase risk of esophageal cancer five-fold


Drinking tea at high temperatures may increase a person’s risk for esophageal cancer, especially if it is coupled with alcohol consumption and cigarette smoke. The study, which was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, utilized a long-term follow-up of more than 450,000 participants.

  • Drinking hot tea has been identified as a possible risk factor for esophageal cancer. However, a consistent correlation has yet to be observed. Moreover, the relationship between consuming hot tea and alcohol and tobacco exposure has not been measured.
  • Researchers used the China Kadoorie Biobank, a four-year cohort study, as its design. The study was conducted in 10 areas across China, and it gathered data from 456,155 participants aged 30 to 79 years. Individuals who had cancer at baseline or had reduced consumption of tea, alcohol, or tobacco prior baseline were not included.
  • Participants’ tea consumption habits were collected, as well as other metrics and lifestyle behaviors. This was compared with esophageal cancer incidence in 2015.
  • During the follow-up period, 1,731 cases of esophageal cancer were recorded. Drinking tea at very high temperatures, together with either alcohol consumption and smoking, had a significantly higher incidence of esophageal cancer than those who drank piping-hot tea alone. In particular, those who drank hot tea and consumed at least 15 grams or more of alcohol had the most significant risk of esophageal cancer.

The study concluded that drinking tea at high temperatures is linked to esophageal cancer, especially when combined with excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Journal Reference:

Yu C, Tang H, Guo Y, Bian Z, Yang L, Chen Y, Tang A, Zhou X, Yang X, Chen J, et al. EFFECT OF HOT TEA CONSUMPTION AND ITS INTERACTIONS WITH ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO USE ON THE RISK FOR ESOPHAGEAL CANCER. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2018 Feb 6. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.7326/M17-2000



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