Drinking culture blamed for 'appalling' rise in alcohol-related cancers

In collaboration with the Press Association

There has been a significant increase in cancers which are linked to alcohol over the past ten years, according to figures requested by the Liberal Democrats.

Since 1997, there has been a 43 per cent increase in liver cancer; a 53 per cent rise in mouth cancer; and a 20 per cent increase in cancer of the oesophagus (food pipe), the figures released in response to a Parliamentary Question reveal.

These and a number of other cancers are known to be more common in people who drink alcohol.

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrats' shadow culture, media and sport secretary, described the impact of alcohol as "terrible" and urged ministers not to turn a blind eye to the problem.

"Excessive drinking has been on the rise for years and these shocking figures show how dramatically the health problems of booze Britain are escalating," he claimed.

"The government's failure to cut alcohol consumption now is storing up problems for later, with more people set to develop cancers in the years to come."

The culture spokesman also warned that alcohol-related health problems will continue to become more common unless steps are taken to tackle "reckless" retailers and "irresponsible" drink promotions.

Dr Jodie Moffat, Cancer Research UK's health information manager, said: "We've known for many years that drinking alcohol increases the risk of several different types of cancer, including bowel and breast cancer."

Alcohol is converted into a chemical called acetaldehyde inside the body which may cause cancerous changes to cells, Dr Moffat explained.

"So cutting down on alcohol is an important thing people can do to reduce their cancer risk."