DRINKING a piping hot cuppa more than doubles your risk of throat cancer, experts have warned.
Scalding water damages the lining of the mouth, throat and oesophagus – and can fuel tumours, new findings show.
Scientists said those who drank three cuppas at more than 60C raised their risk of the disease by 90 per cent.
This temperature is below official guidelines from the World Health Organisation – who recommend drinking your cuppa at 65C or less.
Drinking tea at 75C increases the risk even further.
Coffee is just as bad
Researchers, from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said their results will apply to other hot drinks too including coffee and hot chocolate.
Lead author and oncologist Dr Farhad Islami, said: “Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee or other hot beverages.
“However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of oesophageal cancer.
“It is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking.”
Rates are rising fast
Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the food pipe and latest stats show it affects around 9,200 Brits a year.
Those in their 60s and 70s are at greatest risk, and its more common in men than women.
Rates are rising fast – by 60 per cent in men over the last 30 years, and by 10 per cent in women.
Symptoms can include:
difficulties in swallowing
persistent indigestion or heartburn
bringing up food soon after eating
a loss of appetite and weight loss
pain in the upper tummy, chest or back.
Survival rates are low – often because it is diagnosed too late.
Wait for your cuppa to cool down
Dr Islami said: “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 under 60°C before consumption.”
Trained staff collected information on how long the participants waited between tea being poured and drunk and if they liked it warm, lukewarm, hot or very hot.
They also prepared two fresh cups of tea at the time – one for the participant and the other for the interviewer – to measure the temperature using a digital thermometer.
When the drink was 75°C participants were asked to sip the tea.
If it was their usual tea drinking temperature or they usually drank higher temperature tea, it was recorded.
Otherwise, the procedure was repeated by allowing the tea to cool to 70°C or if necessary, to lower temperatures (at 5°C intervals with the lowest category 60°C.
Dr Islami said: “To our knowledge, this is the only large-scale prospective study in the world in which actual tea drinking temperature has been measured by trained staff.”
Heat injures the food pipe
Researchers belief the heat could injure the gullet, leading to inflammation which could damage DNA and fuel production of carcinogenic chemicals.
It could also impair its ability to act as a barrier to harmful toxins from alcohol and smoking.
In China, Iran, Turkey and South America tea is traditionally drunk very hot – at about 70°C.