- People who drink hot tea at 60°C or higher saw their risk rise by 90 per cent
- The largest study of its kind followed 50,000 people over around a decade
- People in the UK and US typically drink beverages below 60°C
- Scalding water may damage the lining of the food pipe, causing tumours
Drinking piping hot tea or coffee could more than double the risk of developing cancer, research has warned.
People who regularly consume their tea at 60°C (140°F) or higher see their risk of gullet cancer rise by 90 per cent.
But letting a cup of freshly boiled tea to cool down for several minutes before drinking it could help.
The study, led by Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, adds to an array of research linking hot drinks to the disease.
But this is the first time the link has been found in a large-scale study which has followed people for a long time.
Scalding water irritates the lining of the mouth and throat which can fuel tumours, scientists believe.
Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer worldwide and one of the main causes of cancer death.
Experts found that drinking 700ml per day of tea at 60°C or higher was ‘consistently associated’ with a 90 per cent increased risk of the disease, compared with people who consumed drinks at lower temperatures
The researchers said their findings based on tea will apply to other hot beverages, including coffee or hot chocolate.
Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the study looked at the drinking habits of 50,045 people aged 40 to 75 who lived in north-eastern Iran.
During a follow-up period from 2004 to 2017, 317 new cases of oesophageal cancer – also known as cancer of the food pipe – were identified.
The risk of oesophageal cancer rose to 2.4 times among those who regularly drank it at 75°C (167°F).