Home Health and Fitness Oral Sex Is the Leading ‘Risk Factor’ for a Throat Cancer, Expert Says

Oral Sex Is the Leading ‘Risk Factor’ for a Throat Cancer, Expert Says

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A woman touches her throat.
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  • Oral sex is now a major “risk factor” for throat cancer, experts say.
  • The main cause of oropharyngeal cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), Dr. Hisham Mehanna said.
  • He said there has been a rapid increase in throat cancer cases in the West in recent decades.

Oral sex is a major ‘risk factor’ for oropharyngeal cancer, a specific type of throat cancer that affects the tonsils and back of the throat, according to British experts.

Throat cancer has seen a “rapid rise” in recent decades, perhaps reaching an “epidemic” in the West, says Hisham, a professor at the Institute for Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham. Dr. Mehana wrote in The Conversation Earlier this week.

Throat cancer is often thought to be a result of smoking, but the main cause of oropharyngeal cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), which is also the leading cause of cervical cancer. In both the United States and Britain, oropharyngeal cancer is now more common than cervical cancer, he writes.

Because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, “the main risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer is the number of lifetime sexual partners, especially oral sex,” Mehanna said.

“People who have six or more oral sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not have oral sex,” he added.

Mehanna said there is also some evidence that young adults are choosing oral sex to avoid penetrative sex.

Papillomavirus (HPV) Electron micrograph of negatively stained human papillomavirus (HBV) occurring in human warts.
National Institutes of Health

However, a recent study by Mehanna showed that while around 80% of UK adults reported having oral sex at some point in their lives, only a minority would develop cancer. it was done.

“The prevailing theory is that most of us catch HPV infections and are able to clear them out entirely,” he writes, noting that a few people get viral infections because of immune system defects. cannot be removed.

In patients who cannot eliminate HPV, “the virus can replicate continuously, integrating over time into the host’s DNA at random locations, some of which can cause the host cell to become cancerous.

Michael Douglas attributed his throat cancer diagnosis to oral sex.

of Effective HPV vaccine It is widely available and often accepted by young girls to prevent cervical cancer, Mehanna said. Some countries recommend that HPV vaccines should be gender-neutral. and Mehanna suggests that young boys should also be vaccinated as a precaution.

In other words, the increase in oropharyngeal cancer could be mitigated by practicing safer sex and getting vaccinated against the virus.

2013, Actor Michael Douglas highlighted the link between oral sex and throat cancer when he said it was partly to blame for his diagnosis. He also added that he was a smoker and a drinker, which combined could be the most significant factors in inducing throat cancer.

American Cancer Society About the estimate 54,540 new oral or oropharyngeal cancer cases will be reported in 2023. About 20% of those diagnosed with cancer are under the age of 55, the organization said.

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