Alcohol Is To Blame For A Rise In The Rate of Oral Cancers

Smoking and alcohol consumption are the two main risk factors for oral cancers.
But since cancers caused by smoking often take up to 30 years to develop, tobacco is not thought to be the main culprit. Instead, the finger of suspicion is pointing at alcohol consumption, which has doubled in the UK since the 1950s.
Other risk factors that may be involved include a diet low in fruit and vegetables, and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which also causes cervical cancer.
Figures produced by Cancer Research UK show that since the mid-1990s, rates of oral cancers have gone up by 28% for men in their forties and 24% for women.
The charity's health information manager Hazel Nunn said: "These latest figures are really alarming. Around three quarters of oral cancers are thought to be caused by smoking and drinking alcohol. Tobacco is, by far, the main risk factor for oral cancer, so it's important that we keep encouraging people to give up and think about new ways to stop people taking it up in the first place.
"But for people in their 40s, it seems that other factors are also contributing to this jump in oral cancer rates. Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and the trend we are now seeing is likely to be linked to Britain's continually rising drinking levels.
Dentists in Somerset are advising patients that regular dental checks remain the best way for the early detection of serious health problems, such as mouth cancer. 
The recommendation comes on the heels of a new report from Cancer Research UK which claims that alcohol is largely to blame for a worrying rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their 40s. In the UK numbers of cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue and throat in this age group have risen by 26% in the past decade. 
Commenting upon the charity's findings, Martin Fulford, NHS Somerset's Dental Advisor, said: "Mouth cancer can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. Tobacco remains the main risk factor for oral cancer but for people in their 40s, there are also other factors contributing to this jump in oral cancer rates. 
"This latest report suggests alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and this might be contributing to the upward trend in mouth cancers we are seeing throughout the UK. People in Somerset have good access to NHS dental care. However, early detection of mouth cancer is essential if see are to see a reduction in the 1,800 deaths across the UK which occur each year."
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