At least 13,000 cancers in the UK every year are the result of people's drinking habits, according to one of the largest studies ever carried out into diet and cancer.
The research, carried out across eight European countries including the UK, has found that thousands of cancers could be prevented if men had the equivalent of no more than two drinks a day and women had no more than one.
Nearly half of the alcohol-related cancers in the UK - nearly 6,000 - were related to the mouth and throat. Alcohol is a key cause of cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, voicebox and pharynx, according to
Naomi Allen, from Oxford University, one of the researchers, said: "The results from this study reflect the impact of people's drinking habits about 10 years ago. People are drinking even more now, and this could lead to more people developing cancer because of alcohol in the future."
Men and women in Germany, Denmark and the UK were most likely to exceed recommended alcohol intake guidelines, which also looked at people in France, Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands.
Dr Sinéad Walsh, research officer with the society, said: "We recommend that to reduce the risk of developing cancer, people should try to avoid or limit their intake of alcohol."
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there is a causal link between alcohol consumption and cancers of the liver, female breast, bowel, and upper digestive tract,