Can drinking hot drinks increase your esophageal cancer risk?

Esophageal Cancer RiskCC: Dave Michuda at Unsplash

Each day, millions of people throughout the United States drink coffee. In 2018, around 64% of people over the age of 18 drank at least one cup per day. According to recent research, drinking hot drinks may increase your esophageal cancer risk.

Before you go ahead and ditch your usual coffee habit, it’s worth looking into the study a little further. Although there is evidence to suggest your esophageal cancer risk rises when you consume very hot drinks, the results may not apply to you. To understand why, it’s worth examining the study a little more.

A large-scale study with interesting results

The study in question focused on 50,000 adults in Iran. According to the results, drinking very hot tea increases your risk of esophageal cancer by as much as 90%.

While these results are a little worrying, it’s worth considering the context. If you’re from a culture that drinks tea at very high temperatures, the results are probably relevant. According to healthcare experts, we don’t tend to drink tea, coffee, or other hot beverages above a temperature of 140 degrees in the West. As such, you may not need to worry too much.

What is esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that affects your esophagus, which is your food pipe. It accounts for around 1% of cancers diagnosed in the United States, and 9% of all cancers in Iran. Countries such as China and India also tend to have much higher statistics than the United States. In Europe, the United Kingdom has the highest esophageal cancer statistics.

As a disease that’s often diagnosed late, esophageal cancer comes with a global five-year survival rate of 15 to 25%. What your esophageal cancer risks are may vary according to where you’re from and your lifestyle habits.

Common esophageal cancer risks

If you’re interested in reducing your esophageal cancer risks, it’s worth examining those that are modifiable and those that aren’t. Non-modifiable risk factors can include your age, gender, and race. Esophageal cancer risks are higher in those aged 45 to 70, men, and African-American individuals.

Then there are the modifiable esophageal cancer risks, which you can alter by making sensible lifestyle choices. They include:

Overall, making lifestyle changes can lower your esophageal cancer risk. And, make sure you don’t drink your tea or coffee too hot.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.