Figures released by Cancer Research UK have shown that alcohol is causing a huge spurt in the number of oral cancers in men aged over 40.
Experts say that the number of cases of cancer of the mouth, tongue, lip and throat has increased by 28% in men and 24% in women since the 1990s.
"These latest figures are really alarming," said Hazel Nunn, the information manager of Cancer Research UK. "Around three quarters of oral cancers are thought to be caused by smoking and drinking alcohol. Tobacco is, by far, the main risk factor. But for people in their 40s, it seems other factors are also contributing to this jump in oral cancer rates."
She added that alcohol consumption has doubled since the 50s and the trend of increasing oral cancer cases is likely to be linked to rising drinking levels. A diet low in fruit and vegetables is also linked to oral cancer, but it can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.