With alcohol getting cheaper and 24-hour drinking culture picking up, there has been a jump in a number of cancers, experts have warned.

According to figures, almost 5,000 people in England are diagnosed each year with oral cancers, more than 50 per cent rise since 1997. The research found that there was also a 20 per cent leap in cancer of the gullet (oesophagus), from 5,397 to almost 6,500. The figures, obtained from parliamentary questions by the Liberal Democrats, found that liver cancer sufferers had also risen, as well as female breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Experts believe that alcohol consumption, which has doubled since the 1950s, as well as the relaxing of drinking laws, has contributed to the rise in figures. Heavy drinking contributed to a 60 per cent extra chance of developing breast cancer and 50 per cent in colorectal. Other than this, smoking, as well as a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables, and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, have been found to be the reasons. “Excessive drinking has been on the rise for years, and these shocking figures show how dramatically the health problems of booze Britain are escalating. Ministers cannot turn a blind eye to the terrible problems alcohol is causing,” the Telegraph quoted Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat spokesman as telling The Daily Mail.

“The Government’s failure to cut alcohol consumption now is storing up problems for later. The appalling rise of alcohol-related health problems will only continue unless we crack down on reckless retailers and irresponsible drink offers,” he added.

Alcohol Concern Chief Executive Don Shenker said, “Many people are not aware of the connection between alcohol and cancer yet it can be a major contributor or cause of the disease.”