Experts have blamed alcohol abuse for an increase in the rate of cancers of the mouth, tongue, lip and throat among men and women in their forties.
A study by Cancer Research UK has found that cases of oral cancer in this age group have risen by a quarter in the past decade.
The rate of oral cancers for men and women has increased by 28% and 24% respectively, figures showed.
Speaking of the risk factors, Hazel Nunn, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Around three quarters of oral cancers are thought to be caused by smoking and drinking alcohol.’
But experts sideline effects of smoking as it takes around 30 years to cause cancer. They believe at present heavy alcohol consumption, which has doubled in the UK since the 1950s, to be the main risk factor.
A diet low in fruit and vegetables, and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) - which also causes cervical cancer - are a few other risk factors.
Every year 1,800 people die from the disease in the UK and around 5,000 new oral cancers are diagnosed, study revealed.