A love of oral sex can lead to oral cancer, according to American doctors. A large number of partners, their frequent change, early onset of sexual activity – all this increases the risks of infection with the human papillomavirus, which can cause cancer. Prevention, however, is pretty simple – getting vaccinated and using protective equipment during sex.
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Too active an interest in oral sex is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer of the mouth and throat, experts from Johns Hopkins University warn. Their work was published in the magazine CANCER.
Crab oral cavity is not uncommon; in 2018, 355 thousand people lived with such a diagnosis in the world. The mortality rate from it is low – about 2.5 people per 100 thousand. The best chances are for those patients who managed to notice the disease at the initial stage – they have a five-year survival rate of 85%. However, the situation worsens significantly if the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes and gets to other organs – in this case, the five-year survival rate drops to 39%.
The most common causes of oral and pharyngeal cancer are smoking and alcohol consumption. Also, the risks increase with frequent consumption of too hot and spicy food.
Earlier studies have already linked oral sex to oral cancer associated with the human papillomavirus – some strains are oncogenic and can lead to cancer of the rectum, vagina, mouth and pharynx, penis, the authors note.
The researchers surveyed 508 people, of whom 163 had HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer and the rest were healthy. Scientists were interested in the age of the participants, how long ago they started having sex, how many partners they had, and how many people they had oral sex with in a short period of time.
It turned out that the number of partners in oral sex is associated with the risk of developing cancer – if there were 10 or more, the risk increased by 4.3 times.
Also, the risks were 1.5-2 times higher for those who practiced oral sex from a younger age (less than 18 years old), often changed partners in short periods of time, in their youth had oral sex with more mature partners and practiced oral sex outside marriage.
“Our work builds on previous research and shows that not only the number of oral sex partners, but other factors that have not been previously assessed increase the risk of contracting HPV associated with oropharyngeal cancer,” said Dr. Virginia Drake, lead author of the study. We have identified additional nuances of how and why some people may develop this cancer, which may help identify those who are at higher risk. “
However, the main problem associated with HPV is still cervical cancer – 75% of its cases are associated with infection with the 16th and 18th types, another 10% with the 31st and 45th. Frequent sex partner changes increase the risk of infection. Women with HPV who have given birth to seven or more babies are four times more likely to have cervical cancer than nulliparous women.
HPV also provokes 50% of penile cancer cases. The disease itself is, however, quite rare and mainly in elderly men. Poor hygiene conditions, chronic inflammatory diseases, as a rule, are associated with the fact that a number of men do not open the glans of the penis and cannot observe hygiene are additional risk factors.
The main way to fight HPV and the cancer it causes is through vaccination. The vaccine is recommended for women and men between the ages of 9 and 26, but some vaccines can be used at an older age. It is better for pregnant women to postpone vaccination until delivery. Routine vaccination is used in more than 86 countries around the world.
It is also recommended to use barrier contraception and regularly visit a doctor in order to detect an infection or the onset of cancer in time.