May 10, 2007

Oral sex linked to throat cancer

HPV vaccine may protect both sexes

The sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer also sharply increases the risk of certain types of throat cancer among people infected through oral sex, according to a study being published today.

The study, involving 100 people with throat cancer and 200 without it, found that those infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) were 32 times as likely to develop one form of oral cancer than those free of the virus.

The type of oral cancer linked to HPV strikes about 11,000 Americans each year, which is about the same as the number of women in whom cervical cancer is diagnosed.

"Many adolescents, and adults too, say they engage in oral sex as a less risky type of sex," said Mark A. Schuster of Rand Corp. and UCLA, noting that herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections can spread through oral sex.

The findings could provide new ammunition for those advocating wide use of a new vaccine that protects against HPV.

The finding could also spur calls to vaccinate boys as well as girls because oral cancer affects both.


Anonymous said...

I am surprised the media is just now alerting us to the risk of oral cancer with HPV. When my co-author and I published the book "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time" last fall, we discussed studies that indicated 25 percent of oral cancers are felt to be secondary to HPV, particularly HPV 16, one of the strains covered by the vaccine. We are being reminded that women should get regular PAP smears, but we should be reminding men and women alike to see their dentist at least every six months to screen for oral cancer.

Lynne Eldridge M.D.
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time"

Aikäne said...

Excellent point. Thanks for your comment and for the link to your book.