What it means that hot drinks "probably" cause cancer

What it means that hot drinks "probably" cause cancer

The WHO, after 25 years claiming that coffee and mate could cause cancer, has had to deny itself again.

As already happened with the case of red meat, now the WHO, through a statement, has put the cry in the sky stating that hot drinks probably cause cancer, on the other hand denying that particular liquids such as coffee or the legendary mate They will be carcinogenic drinks by themselves.

This is stated by a recent review of studies carried out by a committee of 23 experts and published in The Lancet Oncology. According to Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC in its English acronym), it is the elevated temperature and not one or the other drink in particular the culprit of this probability of suffering cancer.

Hot drinks cause cancer, probablyWhat does this mean?

It is not the first time that World Health Organization makes a statement of these characteristics alarming the general population. In fact, its mode of classification of what causes cancer and what is not a bit complex. Last year an evaluation was made on the carcinogenic potential of coffee or mate, which were classified as possibly carcinogenic. However, it was a mistake, since the temperature of these drinks was not taken into account.

Currently the classification system of WHO does not organize carcinogens by level of danger, as a goat wait, but by level of scientific evidence of said cancer potential on human beings. Just talk about proven relationshipsBut that does not tell us if one thing is more dangerous than another. It is only probability.

So, as we can read in the IARC, the current rating It consists of 118 substances that are carcinogenic to humans, 79 substances that are probably carcinogenic, 290 substances that are possibly carcinogenic, 501 substances that are not classifiable as carcinogens, and one that is probably not, such as caprolactam, a molecule necessary to make nylon.

The relationship between beverage temperature and cancer

Now that we understand (more or less) how WHO works, let’s return to our current topic: The esophageal cancer. This type of tumor disease currently ranks eighth as a cause of cancer, and is one of the deadliest (400,000 deaths in 2012, 5% of cancer deaths).

Coffee and mate have previously been linked to esophageal cancer, a beverage consumed at high temperatures in China, Iran, and Turkey (particularly tea and coffee); and in South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (particularly mate). These drinks are consumed at 65-70 degrees centigrade.

Such a temperature could cause cancer by causing lesions in the cells of the esophageal wall, but if the drinks are taken cold they do not have carcinogenic potential as such, as the new study review has well demonstrated. In fact, the carcinogenic potential of both mate and coffee and other infusions was studied at medium or cold temperature and no increase in cancer risk was detected in any case. Animal studies did detect an increased risk of cancer at temperatures of 65 degrees or higher.

The anti-cancer power of coffee

Finally, it should be noted that the coffee not only has it proven not to be bad for health as many past studies have concluded, but over the years has improved its image in terms of health benefits. In one of the latter, its null relation to the increase in the rhythm of the heart was confirmed for the last time.

Furthermore, coffee has been shown to have some protective effect on various types of cancer such as colon cancer, skin cancer and even uterine cancer.

Now, thanks to this new review, we know that neither coffee nor mate is related as such to an increased risk of cancer. Although, yes, it would be advisable to control the temperature at which we consume these and other beverages.

Image IARC Classification | Naukas.

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