Medicine

Hot tea tied to higher cancer risk for smokers and drinkers

Hot tea tied to higher cancer risk for smokers and drinkers

In the early stages it does not usually cause any symptoms when the tumour is small but when it grows symptoms begin to show.

These symptoms include persistent indigestion or heartburn, a loss of appetite, difficulties in swallowing, and weight loss, or pain in the upper tummy, back or chest. The risk goes up between two and five times, depending on the combination.

Of the 456,155 people in the study, 42% of the men and 16% of the women drank tea daily.

For people who drank less than 15g of alcohol a week, the additional risk of cancer from hot tea consumption (compared with tea less than weekly) was only on the borderline of statistical significance (HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.86).

'Although several studies have demonstrated inhibitory effects of tea against tumourigenesis in the digestive tract, chronic thermal injury to the oesophageal mucosa may initiate carcinogenesis. National Institutes of Health. In an accompanying editorial, the authors of the study quote the 1930's NY physician WL Watson: "The drinking of copious amount [s] of excessively hot tea is a history frequently obtained from Russian-born patients coming to Memorial Hospital suffering from cancer of the esophagus".

Tea drinkers who smoked increased their chances by 56 percent. Researchers asked participants about their tea drinking habits, along with other lifestyle choices, through a questionnaire.

However, for people who smoked tobacco or drank alcohol - both of which are known to cause esophageal cancer - drinking "hot" or "burning hot" tea made their risk of cancer even higher, according to Jun Lv, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Peking University and a lead author on the study.

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The Tea Council of the US said in a statement that the health benefits of tea outweigh the possible risks.

Experts said more research is needed to confirm the study's complete findings.

Enjoying a regular cup of hot tea may seem like one of life's more innocuous pleasures but the latest evidence suggests this may not be the case, at least for those who smoke or drink.

The research was held as a part of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and National Key Research and Development Program and was published in Annals of Internal Medicine journal.

This is, however, not a breaking news because previous trials have already shown that the main causes of esophageal cancer are smoking and alcohol abuse.

At the start of the study, none of the participants had cancer.

'Of importance, however, is that the accumulated literature suggests little risk from hot drinks at temperatures below 65C (149F).


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