The National Cancer Institute has linked drinking of hot tea while chewing miraa and frequent consumption of mursik  to cancer of the oesophagus (food pipe).

This comes after the institute conducted a research in Tenwek, Bomet County and also found that that Rift Valley, Upper Eastern and Northern Eastern regions recorded the highest numbers of oesophageal cancer.

Acting Chief Executive of the National Cancer Institute, Mr. Alfred Karagu, said that it is the chewing of miraa while drinking hot tea amongst those residing in the Northern parts of Kenya that irritates the inner lining of the food pipe making one prone to oesophagus cancer.

According to the World Health Organization, oesophagus cancer is now the top killer in Kenya surpassing cervix, breast, stomach and prostate cancers. This type of cancer kills 4,354 Kenyans every year.

Oesophagus cancer begins in the cells that line the oesophagus after which it can spread to the lymph nodes- these are tiny bean shaped organs that help fight infection, as well as blood vessels in the chest and nearby organs such as lungs, liver and stomach.

Signs and symptoms of the disease include:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • feeling that something is stuck in the throat
  • persistent indigestion or heartburn
  • weightloss
  • pain in your throat or behind your breastbone
  • persistent cough