According to Dr. Christopher Wild, IARC Director, the findings suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible.
Study findings reveal drinking very hot beverages was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. The epidemiological studies showed positive associations between cancer of the oesophagus and drinking very hot beverages.
The risk of oesophageal cancer increased with the temperature at which the beverage was drunk. In the experiments involving animals, there was also limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of very hot water.
“Smoking and alcohol drinking are major causes of oesophageal cancer, particularly in many high- income countries ,” stresses Dr Wild
“However, the majority of oesophageal cancers occur in parts of Asia, South America, and East Africa, where regularly drinking very hot beverages is common And where the reasons for the high incidence of this cancer are not as well understood.”
Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer worldwide and one of the main causes of cancer death, with approximately 400 000 deaths recorded in 2012 (5% of all cancer deaths).
The proportion of oesophageal cancer cases that may be linked to drinking very hot beverages is not known.
Thorough review of more than 1000 studies in humans and animals, the Working Group found that there was inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of coffee drinking overall Many epidemiologic al studies showed that coffee drinking had no carcinogenic effects for cancers of the pancreas, female breast, and prostate, and reduced risks were seen for cancers of the liver and uterine endometrium.