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Oral Cancer

By Anonymous September 8, 2010 - 3:08pm
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I am seeing chat about increase in oral cancers caused by the HPV virus and attributed to more oral sex. Can you address this in your web articles? How much increase, is oral sex the culprit, what preventable measures can be taken. Thanks
retired nurse

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Retired Nurse - Thanks for your comments and question. Yes, there is a documented rise in oral cancers due to oral sex as well as a rising trend for cervical cancer.We are regularly asked about protective measures by women who've had a positive HPV test but are rarely asked about preventive measures as a way to either engage in safe sex or as a cancer prevention measure.

To more specifically address what you're asking, the American Association for Cancer Research held a news conference this past July to discuss research into the role of HPV virus in head and neck cancer.

Increasing rates of HPV infection, spread through oral sex, is largely driving the rapid rise in oropharyngeal cancers, which include tumors of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue, said Scott Lippman, MD, who chairs the thoracic department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Studies of oropharyngeal tumor tissue stored 20 years ago show that only around 20% are HPV positive, Lippman said. Today it is estimated that 60% of patients are infected with the virus.

"The percentage of oropharyngeal cancers that are HPV positive is much higher now than it was 20 years ago," he said. "This is a real trend, and that is why there is concern of an epidemic given that fact that oropharyngeal cancer is increasing at an alarming rate."

Protection measures include using latex or polyurethane condoms, female condoms or dental dams to reduce the chances of contracting the virus when engaging in oral sex.

Of course, more education would really help too. As a former nurse, we would appreciate hearing your thoughts on better ways to educate women, especially teenagers, about this. What are your thoughts?


September 8, 2010 - 6:10pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Thanks for the rundown


September 8, 2010 - 7:27pm
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