Oral sex is fueling an ‘epidemic’ of throat cancer – OutKick

This is going to be hard to swallow for some people. I’m going to work my way into this one and do my best to soften the blow a bit. I’ll do that by starting with some good news.

The good news is that oral sex is still going strong. The bad news is that throat cancer is on the rise and has been for two decades. The worst news is that doctors believe the two are linked.

Oral sex is fueling an 'epidemic' of throat cancer
Mouth and pharynx cancer cases (Image credit: US Department of Health & Human Services via Daily Mail)

Dr Hisham Mehanna, from the University of Birmingham, is one such doctor. The doctor says that 70% of throat cancer cases are caused by the human papillomavirus, better known as HPV. The harmless virus – you know in addition to cancer – is transmitted through sexual activity.

HPV has been linked to multiple forms of cancers, including the rise in throat cancer in the west. Dr Mehanna said: “Over the past two decades there has been a rapid increase in throat cancer in the West, to the point that some have called it an epidemic.”

“This is due to a large increase in a specific type of throat cancer called oropharyngeal cancer.”

This type of cancer is the most common and is found in the back of the throat. I know what you’re thinking, it sucks and everyone’s doomed. Not exactly.

While doctors say HPV from oral sex is now the biggest risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer, there are several ways to reduce this risk. There is a vaccine and it may not be possible for some, but having oral sex with less than six partners will help.

It’s a risk many will be willing to take.

Don’t take my word for it, I’m not a doctor. I’m just trying to figure out how to avoid a complete oral sex disaster.

Dr. Mehanna is though, and that’s what the doc had to say: “HPV is sexually transmitted. For oropharyngeal cancer, the primary risk factor is lifetime number of sexual partners, especially oral sex.

“Those who have six or more lifetime oral sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not perform oral sex.”

So. Not my word on the subject, but a doctor.

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