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The Link Between Oral Sex and Cancer

By Expert HERWriter
 
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Typically, when you think of the human papilloma virus (HPV) you tend to think of abnormal Pap smear results and cervical problems. A new trend facing America and many other countries is the rise of throat cancers due to HPV contracted during oral sex. In fact, oral cancer from HPV is now more common than oral cancer from tobacco use. Researchers found a 225 percent increase in oral cancer in the United States between the years 1974 to 2007, particularly in white males. In Stockholm,Sweden, 93 percent of all tonsillar cancers are due to HPV. These statistics are incredibly significant and a cause for great concern.

A patient in her early thirties came into my office having had a polyp removed from her throat. The surgeon put in his notes that it was probably due to HPV and I had to explain to her how this can transfer from the genital area to the throat. Naturally, she was mortified and concerned as she had a very limited number of partners. I explained to her that the risk increases with each partner and you have to take into consideration the number of partners/exposures your partner has had. Research shows that those who have performed oral sex on six or more partners in their life have an eight-fold higher risk of a head or neck cancer caused by HPV.

I suspect, and many other health care practitioners and researchers concur, that the rise of teenage sex, increased number of partners starting at a younger age, and the increase in oral sex (perhaps viewed as a safer alternative to intercourse) are the reasons behind this trend. Also, people often do not associate oral sex as risky behavior when in fact studies are showing otherwise.

Keep in mind, there are a couple hundred strains of HPV that can cause problems on the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, and oral pharyngeal tissue and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all sexually active people will get HPV. Whether or not your tissues choose to express it depends on your body, risk factors, and your immune system.

Educate yourself, your family, friends and teenagers about the risks associated with oral sex.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

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June 20, 2015 - 10:53am

One of the things that you should be aware of is that you are not alone. Millions of men and women have herpes. I have both forms of herpes I get an occasional outbreak on my lip and about once a year I have a genital herpes outbreak. [website link removed by EmpowHER moderator] is a great website that has made me whole again. I now have control of my condition and a great girlfriend. I now write articles in my spare about herpes. I think so many thousands of people are suffering alone the way I was and this is no way to go though life. Stop being depressed about it and take control of your dating life right now. Don't live another day feeling like no one will date you because of your condition. There are millions of people who will date you with your condition so you need to take your life back.

February 25, 2011 - 7:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

One of the things that you should be aware of is that you are not alone. Millions of men and women have herpes. I have both forms of herpes I get an occasional outbreak on my lip and about once a year I have a genital herpes outbreak. http://www.HerpesLove.net is a great website that has made me whole again. I now have control of my condition and a great girlfriend. I now write articles in my spare about herpes. I think so many thousands of people are suffering alone the way I was and this is no way to go though life. Stop being depressed about it and take control of your dating life right now. Don't live another day feeling like no one will date you because of your condition. There are millions of people who will date you with your condition so you need to take your life back.

February 25, 2011 - 7:51am

Educating our youth today will promote better health tomorrow in this generation .Heres hoping the message will circulate .

February 24, 2011 - 5:43pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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