There are several factors that raise a person’s risk of developing cancer of the esophagus. These factors include gender (it’s more common in males), being over the age of 55, suffering from acid reflux, smoking, alcohol consumption and a diet high in processed meats and low in fruits and vegetables. For years another dietary component has been questioned as a risk for developing cancer of the esophagus – hot beverages, specifically tea. Studies that analyzed the tea drinking habits of those with this type of cancer showed a definite connection. But since these studies were done “after the fact” and based on the estimates of the study’s participants, these findings were suspect to bias.
A new study took a much more fact-based approach. Dr. Farhad Islami, with support from the American Cancer Society and other medical organizations, compiled data from over 50,000 persons ranging in age from 40 to 75 years old. The participants were followed for ten years, and 317 of them developed esophageal cancer.
All of the subjects’ tea drinking habits were studied for two factors: the temperature of the beverage and the “wait time” involved before drinking, on a scale between two and six minutes of cooling down time. The temperature deemed by the study as “very hot tea” was over 60 degrees Celsius, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. “Cold or lukewarm” tea fell anywhere below 60 degrees Celsius.
This study’s findings concluded that drinking 700 ml (almost 3 cups) of very hot tea a day increases by over 90 percent the chance of developing esophageal cancer, compared to those who drink the same amount of lukewarm or cold tea. This information compares well with a study performed last year in China, according to the website of the United Kingdom’s Department of Health and Social Care. Dr. Islami concluded that “it may thus be a reasonable public health measure to extrapolate these results to all types of beverages, and to advise the public to wait for beverages to cool to (lower than) 60 degrees Celsius before consumption.”
Your dentists and hygienists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group care not just about your teeth and gums, but your entire health profile. We regularly check for signs of oral cancers, and when possible, cancers of the throat. That’s why regular visits to our office are an integral part of your overall health care regimen. If you are overdue for a dental checkup, please make an appointment right away. We look forward to seeing you soon.