Can Hot Drinks Increase your Esophageal Cancer Risk?

hot beverage

Recent studies indicate drinking very hot beverages could increase your esophageal cancer risk

It seems that just about every dietary habit has been put under the microscope to determine if it could be linked to cancer. One of those habits that has been a hot topic in recent years is that drinking very hot liquids could increase esophageal cancer risk. The increase in discussion about this topic is a result of a 2016 statement from the World Health Organization and a Chinese study published in Annals of Internal Medicine in February of last year.

What did the studies claim?

The statement from the World Health Organization was based on a study looking at people who drank various hot teas. The studies were done in areas where the populations tend to be exposed to more factors that could raise cancer risk, including smoking, drinking alcohol, cooking over an open fire, and environmental contaminants. These factors make it difficult to be certain if the hot tea was the primary factor in those who developed esophageal cancer.

In the Chinese study, the link studied was also between esophageal cancer and consuming very hot tea. There was an increase in esophageal cancer found, but only for those who also drank alcohol every day or smoked. It is reasonable that drinking hot beverages along with drinking alcohol or smoking could increase risk, but hot tea alone did not show a reliable link.

Should you be worried?

At this point there does not appear to be definitive evidence that drinking hot liquids alone will increase your risk. Right now, there is more reason to think smoking or drinking alcohol would be the primary causes of esophageal cancer.

The bottom line

You should be able to drink all the hot beverages you like without worrying about your cancer risk. Avoiding proven harmful habits, such as drinking alcohol and smoking, will be more helpful in lowering your cancer risk.

Looking to add more healthy dietary habits to your routine? Check out our nutrition page healthy eating tips and our recipes page for all of our oncology dietitian-approved recipes!

Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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