The 7th most common form of cancer is esophageal cancer. There are around 600,000 of new cases diagonsed with the cancer every year worldwide, as of 2020. It's also killing about 550,000 people each year.
And, if you are a tea drinker, you may be doing something rather routine – drinking it when it just finishes steeping – that may facilitate esophageal cancer.
While usually caused by repeated injury to the esophagus due to smoke, alcohol, acid reflux, etc., a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that drinking “hot” or “burning hot” tea was associated with a two- to five-fold increase in esophageal cancer. However, note that it is only in people who also smoked or drank alcohol.
Actually, esophageal cancer is starting to rise in United States, Australia , and some other Western countries as result of heavy alcohol drinking and smoking. And burning hot tea consumption seems to be increasing the likelihood of getting the cancer.
In a more recent study, the researchers found that drinking 700 mL/day tea or more at ≥60°C was associated with about 90% higher risk of esophageal cancer. This is very alarming, but letting your tea cool down before drinking will eliminate the risk.
I should point out, though, that it is likely not the beverage but the temperature that puts folks at risk. I’m sure the same results would occur with coffee or any other hot beverage.
What did they consider “hot” or “burning hot”? Anything over 60-65°C.
So, especially if you are a smoker or drinker (ahem, tea cocktails anyone?), give your esophagus some help – let that tea cool down.
Or better yet, make a little cold brew iced tea, and wash those fears away!