Oral Sex Linked to Increase in Throat Cancer

According to a study presented at this week’s American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting (AAAS) oral sex may be more of an oral cancer risk then regular tobacco use.

Many adolescents think that oral sex is safer then regular intercourse but many of the same risks apply including the risk of contracting an STD. In fact, in the study it was found that when most people engage in oral sex the rate of protection use such as condom usage dramatically decreases leaving them vulnerable to become infected with a cancer causing STD known as the human papillomavirus or HPV.

HPV is the most prevalent STD in the United States with an estimated 20 million people infected with the virus and almost 6 million newly infected people each year. The virus can cause genital, anal, and throat warts and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. According to the CDC most people that are carrying the virus don’t realize it making it easier to pass along unknowingly to sexual partners which is one of the reasons it is so common especially among people with multiple partners. According to Dr. Maura Gillson “Someone who has had six or more partners during his or her life time has eight times the risk of developing this type of cancer”, she said.

According to the study 64% of mouth and oral throat cancers or Oropharynxl cancers have been linked to and caused by HPV trumping tobacco smoking and chewing tobacco related cancers. In fact over 5% of all cancers throughout the world are caused by the same virus.

There are measures you can take to greatly reduce your risk of contracting HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases including abstinence, a mutually monogamous relationship, and regular condom usage even when engaging in oral, vaginal, and anal sex (this includes female condoms). For those that don’t know there is also a vaccine Gardasil that prevents four of the highest risk strains of the virus (6, 11, 16, 18) the vaccine was originally only approved for young women but has recently been approved for men as well.

Jennifer Anderson

I've worked as a nurse in various clinics and love sharing information on health, life, and anything to do with the out doors.

One thought on “Oral Sex Linked to Increase in Throat Cancer

  • September 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Great article and who would have known that oral sex is more dangerous than tabacco (in terms of throat cancer).


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