Oral Sex and Throat Cancer

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • A recent article on ABC News discussed a study that linked oral sex to throat cancer. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has previously been shown to be the main cause of cervical cancer. The recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in February, 2008, indicated that HPV related oral cancers in people in their 40s have almost doubled between 1973 and 2004. According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 34,000 people that have oral cancer today and 39% of those cancers can be attributed to HPV.


    The HPV virus is spread through direct contact with someone that is a carrier of the virus. The virus stays local in the body, remaining in the place it attaches itself to, so in cancers causes by HPV the tumors or cancer do not spread to other locations in the body.

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    Scientists believe that the HPV virus can be transmitted through oral sex, or from mouth to mouth, even though there is no proof, yet.  Both men and women seem to be at risk of developing oral cancer from the HPV virus, although men are more likely to develop cancer. Having a high number of sexual partners places someone at a higher risk of contracting the HPV virus.


    Teens are more susceptible of contracting the HPV virus. Teens often believe that oral sex is safer than sexual intercourse because there is no risk of pregnancy. And many people that contract the HPV virus may never know and most will never develop any symptoms.


    It is important to know not only your partner, but also the history of your partner and take precautions as well as abstain from behaviors, such as oral sex, until you are sure both you and your partner are HPV free.

Published On: October 16, 2008