Drinking Very Hot Tea Linked to Higher Cancer Risk

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. scalding / ˈskɑːldɪŋ / (adj) – very hot

    I burnt my tongue after drinking the scalding coffee.

  2. lukewarm / ˈluːkˈwoɚm / (adj) – not very warm

    Drink the coffee before it becomes lukewarm.

  3. well thought out / ˌwel θɑːt ˈaʊt / (adj) – planned carefully

    The researchers got accurate results because the method used was well thought out.

  4. open to question / ˈoʊpən tə ˈkwɛstʃən / (idiom) – still unknown or unsure

    The treatment for the rare disease is still open to question.

  5. bring on / brɪŋ ɑːn / (phrasal) – to cause something bad to occur or happen

    His allergies were brought on by the spring season.


Read the text below.

A recent study revealed that people who regularly drink scalding tea have a higher risk of having cancer of the esophagus, a tube that connects the throat with the stomach.

In 2004, a group of international researchers collected data from more than 50,000 frequent tea drinkers in Iran. The participants were first asked questions about their preferences in drinking tea, like their preferred tea temperature and the size of the cup they used. In the following years, the researchers monitored the participants’ health through phone calls.

In 2017, the researchers found that 317 of the participants developed cancer of the esophagus or esophageal [ih-sof-uhJEEuh l] cancer. In addition, the researchers noted that those who drank around three cups of tea at a temperature of 60°C or higher each day were 90% more at risk of developing the disease.

Dr. Farhad Islami, the lead author of the study, advises the public to wait until their beverages become lukewarm before drinking them.

Several experts have commented on the study. A food chemist thinks that the study is helpful and well thought out, unlike previous studies that got data only from self-reports. However, he said that further research is needed because the exact reason why drinking hot tea results in esophageal cancer is still open to question.

On the other hand, some experts do not consider drinking hot beverages a major risk. In fact, one German doctor who specializes in treating esophageal cancer said that he has yet to encounter a case wherein the disease was brought on by consuming hot drinks.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Given that some experts do not consider drinking hot beverages a major risk, do you think the results of the study should still be a cause for alarm? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, which should the researchers focus on next: further research on the cause of cancer or its treatment? Explain.

Discussion B

• In what other ways can hot temperature harm people’s health (e.g. sunburn, dehydration)? Discuss.
• How do you think these health effects can be prevented?