Oral Sex Increases Risk of Throat Cancer in Men

Having oral sex with multiple partners significantly increases risk of head and neck cancer in men, study finds

These cancers appear at the back of the throat, base of the tongue, or tonsils.

Among men, the lowest risk group were those who had one or no oral sex partners in their lifetime, with only 1.5 percent of whom get oral HPV infection, which rose to four percent among non-smokers with two up to four types of oral sex partners.

"Among men who did not smoke, cancer-causing oral HPV was rare among everyone who had less than five oral sex partners, although the chances of having oral HPV infection did increase with number of oral sexual partners, and with smoking", D'Souza added.

Mass screening for oral HPV infection is not advisable, she adds, because existing tests, for example, of oral HPV 16 DNA, now have more harms (from false positives) than benefits.

It was found that women who had one or no oral sex partners during their lifetime had the lowest prevalence of oral infection with cancer-causing HPV, with 1.8 percent of infected smokers, and 0.5 percent of non-smokers.

There are many types of HPV existent, but only three of them put people at risk of cancer, namely cervical or oropharyngeal cancer.

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Dr Amber D'Souza (PhD), associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-author of the study, said: "It would be useful to be able to identify healthy people who are most at risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer in order to inform potential screening strategies, if effective screening tests could be developed". But the risk is much lower for women, people who don't smoke and those who have had oral sex with less than five partners.

For the current study, senior author Ashish Deshmukh and team analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess oral HPV prevalence and the concordance of oral and genital HPV infection among men and women living in the US. For those who had five or more oral sex partners and also smoked, a full 15 per cent of them tested positive for the particular kind of virus.

Around one in nine men in the USA. are infected with oral human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study led by researchers at the University of Florida. Oral HPV was four times more common among men who had a genital HPV infection, compared with men who did not, at 19.3% versus 4.4%.

Kids and teenagers, who self-harmed, had a much higher risk of dying from suicide, alcohol poisoning, or drug overdose. However, the researchers say, the vaccines should eventually bring all HPV-associated cancer rates down by preventing new infections.

Information was cross-reference on the number of deaths due to oropharyngeal cancer and data on overall deaths across the U.S.to determine a risk factor for oral HPV.

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