Does Oral Sex Cause Head And Neck Cancer?

One of the researchers says that despite alarming reports linking HPV-associated cancers to oral sex, the truth is more complex.

In recent months, there has been a series of disturbing news reports highlighting the links between oral sex, HPV and head and neck cancers. It all started mainly after the Journal of Clinical Oncology published in October a detailed study of a marked increase in throat cancer rates associated with HPV.

The article in the magazine was certainly open. The researchers analyzed tumor samples from patients diagnosed with laryngeal cancer between 1984 and 2004. The researchers found that HPV was detected in only 16 percent of the samples from the 1980s. In samples taken in 2000, the presence of HPV increased to 72 percent. “If this trend continues, by 2020, the HPV virus will cause more cervical cancer than cervical cancer,” the New York Times reported in a report last fall.

No one argues that the proportion of total head and neck cancers attributed to HPV has increased. The virus is now a more likely cause of oral cancer than tobacco use. But if this is not the case, why is it another story? “The researchers believe that this trend may be due to increased oral sex, especially among young people who believe it is safer than intercourse,” the Times reported.

But a new analysis of the evidence available from a psychologist and sex therapist, Dr. Sarah Rosenkoist, says oral sex’s blame for the increase in these cancers is counterproductive to our sexual health and distorts the overall picture.

According to the Rosenquist report, published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, “the relationship between oral sex, HPV and cancer is not just a cause and effect relationship.” First, says Rosenckst, “only the presence of HPV does not determine the risk of cancer, even when there are many high-risk strains in the same person.” Rosenquist points out that HPV infection is common and in most people the system The immune system scans the virus within 18 months. Rosnequist says that the key factor in sexual communication related to oral cancer by HPV is that the infection can cause cancer when it can not be eliminated due to an immune system at risk. Deferred immune function can be caused by a variety of factors, from AIDS and HIV to the use of long-term marijuana, chronic stress and anxiety, and multiple sexual partners.

But among healthy people who have sex, the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cancer, is usually not worrying, says Rosenkoist. “HPV should not be cause for concern among single couples with a rich and diverse sex life,” he writes at the end of his study. “As long as the sexual system remains closed, there are no other immune factors for negotiation.”

In the end, safe sex and the non-loss of your partner are factors that prevent head and neck cancer associated with HPV reduce a large part of their sex life.

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