A BBC documentary presented by Jaime Winstone will examine the link between oral sex and rising numbers of mouth and throat cancer cases among young people - described as 'an emerging epidemic' by a Cancer Research UK expert.
Rates of oral cancers have gone up by 50pc in men since 1989 and are rising by 3pc a year in women, even as smoking, once thought to be the major cause, declines.
Oral cancers alone kill around 1,800 people a year.
Scientists have provided growing evidence over the last decade of the link between the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is passed from person to person during sexual activity, and an increased risk of developing oral cancer. It is better known as a major cause of cervical cancer.
"The evidence suggests that people are more likely to have an HPV-linked cancer if they have had multiple sexual partners and practised oral sex, whether they are men or women," the Guardian quoted Lesley Walker, cancer information director at Cancer Research UK, as saying.
"Winstone's documentary could have a very useful role to play," she added.
Lesley also noted that vaccination of schoolgirls against HPV should ultimately reduce the level of infection but condom use is already proven to lessen the risk.
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