Is Your Mom’s Hot Tea Raising Her Risk for Cancer?

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

March 23, 2018

Okay, you might think it’s a little crazy to suggest that tea can cause cancer.
But, a recent study suggests there may be a link between drinking hot tea and developing esophageal cancer for certain people. If your parent enjoys a cup of piping hot tea on a regular basis, knowing about the study and how hot tea might interact with other risky behaviors could be of interest.

Home Care in Squirrel Hil PA: Risks of Cancer
Home Care in Squirrel Hil PA: Risks of Cancer

The Hot Tea Study
Before you toss out all your mom’s tea bags in the trash, you should know that her risk of esophageal cancer is only greater if she either drinks alcohol regularly or smokes. The study was conducted in China over a nine-year period and involved more than 450,000 people. Researchers found that those who drank scalding hot tea and at least one alcoholic drink daily were at a 5 times greater risk for esophageal cancer than those who had tea only about once per week and drank less than one alcoholic beverage per day. Those who drank tea and smoked were at twice the risk than those who had only the occasional cup of tea and did not smoke.
The researchers did not find evidence of an increased risk for those people who simply drank tea every day but did not drink alcohol or smoke. However, they suspect that drinking it at high temperatures could cause chronic damage to the lining of the esophagus, making it more susceptible to cancer-causing substances. Or, it could be that the damage itself leads to cancer.
Health Benefits of Tea
So, should your mom stop drinking tea? Probably not. She may just need to let it cool a bit before she takes a sip. In fact, there are lots of reasons your mom should continue to enjoy a warm cup of tea, such as:
Green tea contains antioxidants, which may help fight lots of diseases, including some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
Black tea can help with reducing stroke risk and damage to the lungs from cigarette smoke. However, black tea has the highest concentration of caffeine, so it may be wise to limit the amount of black tea your mom drinks, and to stop drinking it a few hours before bedtime.
Chamomile tea is known for being soothing. It also may be useful in preventing complications caused by diabetes.
Hibiscus tea may help lower blood pressure.
If your mom enjoys a good cup of tea, a home care provider can assist her in making it. A home care provider can fill the tea kettle and pour the hot water into your mom’s cup. This way, if your mom’s hands are weak or unsteady due to health conditions, she doesn’t risk accidentally burning herself. A home care provider can also sit with your mom while she drinks her tea and keeps her company. After all, a good cup of tea is best enjoyed with a friend!

If you are considering Home Care Services in Beaver, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care. Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551