Very Hot Beverages Might Cause Cancer

August 13, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. probable /ˈprɒb ə bəl/ (adj.) – likely to occur
Example: A probable cause of his lung cancer is smoking.  

2. inadequate /ɪnˈæd ɪ kwɪt/ (adj.) – not enough
Example: There is inadequate evidence that tea causes cancer.

3. scalding /ˈskɑ ldɪŋ/ (adj.) – extremely hot
Example: Taking a shower with very hot water can cause scalding burns.  

4. tumor /ˈtu mər/ (n.) – an abnormal growth of tissue in a body
Example: She discovered that she had a tumor during her annual check-up.

5. trigger /ˈtrɪg ər/ (v.) – to cause something to start
Example: Physically exhausting activities can trigger heart attacks.


Read the text below.
The World Health Organization (WHO) placed hot beverages like tea and coffee in its list of probable causes of cancer.

In 1991, coffee was categorized as a carcinogen, or something that can cause cancer in humans. However, its classification was later changed because of inadequate evidence. Previous studies showed that coffee has no carcinogenic effects and that coffee drinkers have lower chances of developing liver and uterine cancer.

However, a more recent study clarified that it is not coffee or tea that causes cancer, but rather, the temperature of the drink. People who take hot beverages with temperature above 149°F have higher chances of developing esophageal cancer, or cancer of the esophagus. Very hot beverages can cause scalding burns in the lining of the esophagus, thus damaging the cells. One study of animals showed that damaged cells promote growth of tumors, which trigger cancer. According to the National Coffee Association, the standard temperature of coffee is 140 degrees.

The scalding effect of hot beverages was compared to another cause of esophageal cancer—too much alcohol. Alcohol also damages the throat and the cells of the esophagus.

Esophageal cancer is currently the eighth most common form of cancer, with a 5.5 percent risk for an average person. It was responsible for an estimated 400,000 recorded deaths in 2012. Its symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, weight loss, chest pains, indigestion, and heartburn.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you still drink hot tea or coffee after reading this article? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think some people enjoy very hot beverages?

Discussion B

·         What food or drinks do you avoid eating?
·         What do you think are the best ways to prevent cancer?

August 13, 2016