According to a recent medical study published on April 25, oral sex has emerged as the leading cause of throat cancer, reaching “epidemic” levels in the UK and the US. Dr Hisham Mehanna from the University of Birmingham led the research, and noted a rapid increase in throat cancer in the West over the past two decades.
The report states that while most people can clear Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, a small number of people cannot clear the virus completely due to a defect in their immune system. In these patients, the virus can continue to replicate and integrate into the host’s DNA, leading to cancerous cells.
The report further revealed that those with six or more lifetime oral sex partners were 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex. While over 80% of adults reported practicing oral sex at some point in their lives, only a small number of those individuals develop oropharyngeal cancer.
Oral cancer has now become more prevalent than cervical cancer, with oral sex emerging as a bigger risk factor than smoking, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet. The report explains that oropharyngeal cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), affects the tonsils and back of the throat.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) disclosed that approximately 8,300 people are diagnosed with throat cancer every year in the UK, accounting for one in every 50 reported cancers. Furthermore, more than two in three cases of mouth cancer develop in adults over the age of 55, with only one in eight cases occurring in people younger than 50.