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The speed at which a person's body breaks down alcohol is linked to their risk of developing oral cancer, according to the findings of a new study.
Researchers at Aberdeen University looked at hundreds of patients who had cancers of the mouth, esophagus and larynx, focusing on two genes that are involved in metabolizing alcohol.
They found that those who possessed a fast-acting variant of one of the genes were less likely to suffer from these cancers, because the enzymes are quicker at breaking down alcohol, which is a toxin.
Dr Tatiana Macfarlane, senior lecturer at Aberdeen University's department of general practice and primary care, said that oral cancer risk is connected "to genetics as well as lifestyle".
"These results provide the strongest evidence yet that alcohol consumption is strongly linked to oral cancer," she added.
Separate research has found that smokers are also at a significantly increased risk of developing cancer of the mouth.
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