It was found that those who drank hot tea, consumed too much alcohol and also smoked, were at least five timesmore likely to have cancer of the esophagus than those who did none of the three.
"Tea, one of the most common beverages worldwide, usually is consumed at elevated temperatures", lead author Dr Jun Lv at the Peking University Health Science Center told the Daily Mail.
According to the study, participants who drank hot or burning hot tea and consumed an alcohol beverage every day had a 127 percent increased chance of developing esophageal cancer. Drinking "hot" or "burning hot" tea was not, by itself, a predictor of esophageal cancer, which is good news for tea aficionados. The risk of this cancer is more in men than women.
The hypothesis that drinking very hot beverages may cause esophageal cancer has been around since the 1930s, they note.
It found 1,731 cases of oesophageal cancer. It is often caused by repeated injury to the esophagus because of smoke, alcohol, acid reflux, and possibly hot liquids as suggested by the new study.
Based on the findings, Lv and colleagues advise people to choose their habits carefully and, if they find it challenging to give up their daily drink or cigarette, the researchers suggest that it's best to avoid drinking tea at very high temperatures.
"People probably do not estimate their tea temperature perfectly, and this is one of the main limitations of the study", said Neal Freedman, author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
500,000 subjects were observed during this study who lasted for more than 9 years. Only some of the studies in the review took alcohol and tobacco use into account. This means that the combined effect of all the mentioned habits may be a big risk factor.
The researchers' conclusion that people who smoke and drink excessively might want to cut out hot tea seems odd. Drinking tea is unlikely to be the biggest of their health problems.
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