Coffee is the cure for what ails ya. Really. Go up to the search bar on the Sprudge homepage and type in whatever it is that ails you and there’s a better than likely chance that we’ve reported on some scientific article finding a link to making it better or less likely somehow. And though it is literally the closest thing we have to an actual panacea, a new study finds that hot coffee may be linked to higher risk of esophageal cancer.
As reported by the Telegraph, the new study was published recently in the journal Clinical Nutrition. In it, researchers from the University of Cambridge sought to examine if there were any causal associations between drinking coffee and 22 site-specific types of cancer. Using data from more than 500,000 individuals via the UK Biobank, the researchers compared coffee consumption to instances of esophageal cancer, and they found that folks who reported drinking coffee—and/or tea—were at 2.8 times the risk of developing this form of throat cancer than those who didn’t drink these beverages.
When drilling down by the temperature folks preferred to drink their coffee at—tepid, hot, or very hot—the effect of higher-temperature beverages became more clear. Tepid brews were associated with a 270% increase in esophageal cancer rates, whereas “hot” and “very hot” were associated with a 550% and 410% increase, respectively. Data was not collected on daily coffee consumption rates, so the researchers were unable to examine if total coffee intake also played a factor.
While researchers state there was “evidence for a causal effect of coffee increasing esophageal cancer,” they hypothesize that it may have nothing to do with the coffee itself but more with the temperature it is consumed. “Thermal injury,” damage done to the throat by the heat of the drink, could be “elevating the risk of dangerous cells forming.”
“Avoiding drinking coffee at too high a temperature is really the conclusion. If you are feeling as if there’s this damage to your throat then that’s something which is worth being aware of and potentially dialling back on.”
The good news is, for the remainder of the study, coffee was not associated with any higher instances for the 21 other site-specific cancers investigated. So if you are going to drink coffee, which of course you are, give it a second to cool down a bit. That’s where the best flavors come out anyway.