Oral sex may cause throat cancer

Oral sex may cause throat cancer

Over the past two decades, the Western world has seen a rapid and alarming surge in the incidence of throat cancer, which some even call an epidemic. This surge is primarily due to a significant increase in cancer cases oropharynx – a special type of throat cancer that affects the tonsils and the back of the throat.

The main culprit of this cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), the same virus that causes cervical cancer. Surprisingly, oropharyngeal cancer has now surpassed cervical cancer in prevalence in both the US and UK.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, and the main risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer is the number of sexual partners, especially oral sex. Surprisingly, individuals who have six or more oral partners in their lifetime are more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer. 8.5 times higher compared to those who do not engage in oral sex.

Behavioral studies have shown that in some countries oral sex is a very common occurrence. In a UK study of nearly 1,000 people who had tonsillectomies for non-cancer reasons, 80% of adults reported having performed oral sex at some point in their lives.

However, only a small proportion of these people subsequently develop oropharyngeal cancer, and the reasons for this discrepancy remain unclear. The prevailing hypothesis is that most people become infected with HPV but successfully clear their bodies. However, some people are unable to get rid of the infection, possibly due to immune system deficiency. In these cases, the virus persists and eventually integrates into the host’s DNA at random locations, some of which can cause host cells to transform into cancer cells.

In order to prevent cervical cancer, many countries conduct vaccination girls against HPV. Recent evidence, although not conclusive, suggests that this vaccination may also be effective in preventing HPV infection in the mouth.

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Author Oleg Loginov

Oleg Loginov – student at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, freelance correspondent for Pravda.Ru

Curator Elena Andreeva

Elena Andreeva—Deputy Director of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “National Medical Research Center for Endocrinology” of the Russian Ministry of Health—Director of the Institute of Reproductive Medicine

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