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Scientists Say Oral Sex May Lead To Throat Cancer

In a new study, US scientists suggest that people who have oral sex with 5 or more partners during their lifetime have a much greater chance of having throat cancer and they suspect the cause is a well known strain of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) that is linked to a number of anogenital cancers. US scientists have said there is strong evidence linking oral sex to cancer, and urged more study of how human papillomaviruses may be to blame for a rise in oral cancer among white men.
The research was conducted by Dr Maura Gillison of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, US, and colleagues.
Scientists already knew that HPV was doing something at the molecular level to help trigger a type of throat cancer known as oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma, but consistent epidemeological evidence was still missing.
Researchers have found a 225-percent increase in oral cancer cases in the United States from 1974 to 2007, mainly among white men, said Maura Gillison of Ohio State University.
Previous studies have suggested that people who have performed oral sex on six or more partners over a lifetime face an eight-fold higher risk of acquiring HPV-related head or neck cancer than those with fewer than six partners, she said.
The results suggested that once the link with HPV is present, there is no added risk from tobacco use and alcohol consumption, usually regarded as the highest risk factors for this type of throat cancer.
Dr Gillinson and colleagues suggest that HPV “drives” the cancer and once the cell is sufficiently disrupted to cause cancer, the impact of tobacco and alcohol is unlikely to contribute any more risk.
A study published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the HPV vaccine could prevent 90 percent of genital warts in men, and the vaccine has also been approved against anal cancer in men and women.
Harper said she was not recommending the general population get the HPV vaccine because research has not yet established its effectiveness past five to eight years for cervical cancer.
Teens really have no idea that oral sex is related to any outcome like STIs (sexually transmitted infections), HPV, chlamydia, and so on.
(courtesy: Umar at iHealth)

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