A SHARP rise in the number of North-East residents being admitted to hospital with mouth and throat cancer is being attributed to drinking too much alcohol.

Experts are warning about the long-term risks of drinking after research carried out by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, showed that the number of admissions for alcohol-related mouth and pharyngeal cancer have increased by 53 per cent between 2006/07 and 2013/14.

A 16 per cent increase for all alcohol-related cancer admissions across the region was also found.

According to the figures, there were 404 people diagnosed with mouth cancers in the North-East in 2013, with about 30 per cent of cases linked to alcohol.

The region’s hospitals are also dealing with about 1,900 separate admissions a year where mouth cancers are a factor, which is costing the NHS more than £3.6m.

The findings – which coincide with Mouth Cancer Action Month – are part of Balance’s campaign to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and seven types of cancer – including three types of throat cancer, mouth, bowel, breast and liver cancer.

Research also shows that people are three times more likely to develop cancers of the mouth and throat by drinking above the recommended limits with the Department of Health recommending no more than two to three units a day for women and a maximum of three to four units a day for men along with at least two alcohol free days per week.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “These figures are extremely worrying. Alcohol is a poison, it’s in the same cancer causing group as tobacco smoke and asbestos – we really need to continue to drive this message home.

“It’s important that people are aware of the serious long term health risks associated with drinking alcohol, as well as the short term health implications.

“Alcohol is linked to more than 60 different medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers, raised blood pressure, stroke and dementia.”

Hannah Thorpe, Senior Dental Officer, Community Dental Service, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Sadly, mouth cancer takes the lives of more than 2,000 people each year in the UK; more than testicular and cervical cancer combined.

“More people also die every year of mouth cancer than are killed in road traffic accidents. “Although certain risk factors are heavily implicated in the development of the disease, mouth cancer can affect anybody.

“By knowing more about the risk factors and adopting healthier lifestyles we can all take simple steps to reduce our risk of developing mouth cancer.

For more information visit reducemyrisk.tv