Do you enjoy your coffee piping hot in the morning? Or a steaming cup of tea before bed? While these hot drinks may taste good, new research suggests they may be putting your esophagus at risk.
For the study, researchers enrolled nearly 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 75 years old. Individuals from this study were from the Golestan Province in northeastern Iran, an area where tea drinking is a very common practice. Patients were recruited over a four-year period and were followed for an average of just over 10 years. During that time, there were 317 newly diagnosed cases of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Researchers tracked how much tea the participants drank on a regular basis and had them rate the temperature of their tea. Those who drank roughly 24 ounces of tea a day and who classified their tea as very hot (at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit) were shown to be 90 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer.
“Based on the results of our study, drinking hot tea is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer,” said study lead author Farhad Islami.
Esophageal Cancer and Hot Drinks
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 17,500 new cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2019. The good news is that although we like our coffee, tea and hot chocolate here in America, we typically do not drink it above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
That’s not to say we don’t like a hot beverage, but the consumption of very hot tea is more common in Asia, Africa and South America. That being said, if you do drink your coffee and tea as hot as you can handle it, consider letting it cool a bit and mention this tendency to your doctor at your next physical, as they’ll want to keep an eye on it.
Here in America, one of the more common causes of esophageal cancer is unaddressed acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This occurs when stomach acid makes its way back up from your stomach into your esophagus, damaging the esophageal lining. A number of factors contribute to reflux, including older age, the consumption of certain foods or large meals, alcohol intake and eating shortly before bed.
If you’re experiencing heartburn or acid reflux, talk about it with your doctor or an esophageal specialist like Dr. Koeplin. We’ll be able to take a look at your health and ensure you’re in the clear when it comes to esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is one of the more difficult cancers to manage because symptoms don’t always appear until the condition is in a more serious stage, so know the risk factors and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.
For more information about esophageal cancer, or to speak with a doctor about any questions or concerns you might have, reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s clinic today.