New Claim Points Oral Sex as the Major Cause of Throat Cancer Epidemic in the US and the UK

Photo - Screenshot: Wikimedia Commons

Oral sex is reportedly the major cause of an “epidemic” of throat cancer in both the United States and the United Kingdom, according to Dr. Hisham Mehanna, a leading surgeon in the university of Birmingham. 


The doctor issued a warning, claiming that individuals with multiple sexual partners were at greater risk of developing the cancer due to the increased likelihood of contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV). 

Sources had it that there is a vaccine but only about 54% of Americans has received this yet.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) and can cause several types of cancer, including cervical, anal, and throat cancers. The number of throat cancers linked to HPV has dramatically increased over the past few decades, particularly in men. In the US, approximately 70% of all throat cancers are caused by HPV, and the number of cases has tripled over the last 30 years. In the UK, the number of cases of HPV-related throat cancer has also increased significantly, with a rise of 51% between 1995 and 2015.

In his statements, Dr. Mehanna said: “Over the past two decades, there has been a rapid increase in throat cancer in the west, to the extent that some have called it an epidemic.

‘This has been due to a large rise in a specific type of throat cancer called oropharyngeal cancer.”

The most prevalent type of throat cancer is oropharyngeal cancer, which manifests in the tonsils and the rear part of the throat. According to medical experts, contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV) is deemed the most significant risk factor for acquiring this ailment.

‘HPV is sexually transmitted. For oropharyngeal cancer, the main risk factor is the number of lifetime sexual partners, especially oral sex.

‘Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex.’ Dr. Mehanna further explained.

Photo sourced from Unsplash

Dr. Mehanna claims that oral sex is the primary cause of the rise in throat cancers. He notes that HPV is easily transmitted through oral sex, and people who engage in this type of sexual activity with multiple partners are at the greatest risk. Furthermore, many individuals may not realize that they have HPV because it can remain dormant for years without causing any symptoms.

Medical professionals have also determined that engaging in oral sex poses the most significant risk factor for developing throat cancer, surpassing other habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy dietary choices. This is due to the potential for an individual to contract an HPV infection in the throat or near the tonsil through such acts. While these infections typically clear up independently, they can occasionally persist and lead to cancer. 

Researchers at NYU Langone have approximated that HPV infections account for up to 70% of all throat cancer cases. In the UK, head and neck cancers combined cause over 12,000 cases and 4,000 fatalities annually.

The symptoms of throat cancer can include a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and ear pain. If left untreated, throat cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become more difficult to treat. It is therefore essential for people to be aware of the risks associated with oral sex and to seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms.

Abstaining from oral sex and maintaining one sexual partners can significantly reduce the risk of developing HPV-related throat cancer. The risk can also be reduced by getting vaccinated against HPV. The HPV vaccine is available for both males and females and is most effective when given before the start of sexual activity.

In addition to reducing the risk of developing throat cancer, abstaining from oral sex can also lower the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can also increase the risk of developing throat cancer.

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