Alcohol is largely to blame for an “alarming” rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their forties, say experts.
Numbers of cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue and throat in this age group have risen by 26% in the past decade. Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and is the most likely culprit alongside smoking, says Cancer Research UK. Each year in the UK around 1,800 people die from the disease. There are 5,000 newly diagnosed cases per year. 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.” Oral cancer can be treated successfully if diagnosed early enough. The most common signs of the disease are ulcers, sores, or red or white patches in the mouth that last longer than three weeks, together with unexplained pain in the mouth or ear.
The other thing about all of this excess alcohol is that it’s also the number 1 reason why many people are overweight. Here at Diets Don’t Work personal training our personal trainers both in London and the Thames valley are constantly dealing with clients who have done really well to take our nutritional advice and apply it, but have then fallen down through drinking. Each large glass of wine or pint of beer is like a kit-kat in terms of the sugars contained within. Yet because the wine is liquid and also a reward, we can often be lulled into thinking that it’s OK. Yet you would not get home from work and have 3 kit-kats after diner, would you? (hope the answer to this is no!!!). As with all things we try to advise following the 80/20 rule with lots of exercise. So be good and avoid the tipple 80% of the time, so that for the other 20% you can still have fun. But not too much…