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Oral Sex may Affect Oropharyngeal Cancer Risk

by Colleen Fleiss on January 11, 2021 at 11:34 PM
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Oral Sex may Affect Oropharyngeal Cancer Risk

Having more than ten prior oral sex partners is linked to a 4.3 times greater likelihood of having HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer, stated new research published in the American Cancer Society journal.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) can infect the mouth and throat to cause cancers of the oropharynx.



Previous studies have shown that performing oral sex is a strong risk factor for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. To examine how behavior related to oral sex may affect risk, Virginia Drake, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, and her colleagues asked 163 individuals with and 345 without HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer to complete a behavioral survey.

In addition to timing and intensity of oral sex, individuals who had older sexual partners when they were young, and those with partners who had extramarital sex were more likely to have HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.

"Our study builds on previous research to demonstrate that it is not only the number of oral sexual partners, but also other factors not previously appreciated that contribute to the risk of exposure to HPV orally and subsequent HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer," said Dr. Drake.

"As the incidence of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer continues to rise in the United States, our study offers a contemporary evaluation of risk factors for this disease. We have uncovered additional nuances of how and why some people may develop this cancer, which may help identify those at greater risk."

Source: Eurekalert

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