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Alcohol-linked cancer deaths 'will hit 130,000 by 2035'

A file photo of a woman drinking a glass of beer. Credit: PA

Over 130,000 people will die from cancer caused by alcohol abuse over the next 20 years, figures show.

Cancer Research UK said that by 2035, over 7,000 cancer deaths a year will be as a result of drinking alcohol.

They said it will cost the NHS an extra £2bn.

The report claims 3,674 deaths will be from oesophageal cancer, 1,369 will be bowel cancer and 835 will be breast cancer.

The Alcohol Health Alliance says the study shows the need for a minimum unit price to be put on alcohol. Credit: PA

Modelling figures suggest that women who regularly drink two units a day have a 16% increased risk of developing breast cancer and dying from it.

For women who drink five units a day, that risk increases to 40%.

Over the next 20 years, the charity claims there will be more than 1.2 million hospital admissions for cancer caused by drinking - which will cost the NHS £100m on average, a year.

Scientists are still researching how cancer can be caused by drinking alcohol. One theory is that alcohol damages DNA.

In January the UK's chief medical officers said men should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol a week - down from the 21 units - to bring them in line with women.

However they warned no level of regular drinking is without risk to health.

These new figures reveal the devastating impact alcohol will have over the coming years.

That's why it's hugely important the public are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer, and what they can do to improve their risk.

If we are to change the nation's drinking habits and try to mitigate the impact alcohol will have, then national health campaigns are needed to provide clear information about the health risks of drinking alcohol.

– Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: "These latest figures show the serious consequences for individuals, the NHS and society if the UK Government continues to ignore the consequences of the nation's drinking.

"In particular they reinforce the need for a minimum unit price for alcohol.

"It is clear from the report that it will save lives, including those lost to cancer, and ease the burden on our health service.

"Importantly, a minimum unit price will do this while leaving moderate drinkers and prices in pubs and bars unaffected."