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Alcohol blamed for rise in oral cancer rates

Cancer research UK has published figures showing an increase of 51% in oral cancer rates in the last 20 years, which they attribute to increased alcohol consumption.Alcohol and tobacco are the main causes of oral cancer but the effects of smoking can take up to 30 years to develop. Both the prevalence of smoking and the quantity of tobacco smoked has been falling since the early 1970s.  In contrast, the consumption of alcohol has been rising.


Source: Oral cancer graph adapted from graph published by Cancer Research UK, here.



Tobacco graph taken from Day, M. (2006) Time and generational trends in smoking among men and women in Great Britain, 1972–2004/05. Health Statistics Quarterly, 32, 35-43. Published by National Statistics.


Alcohol graph based on figures published by HMRC, Alcohol Factsheet, 2008.