HPV virus can be passed on
It’s official, oral sex is bad for you. New research shows that a virus contracted through oral sex is the cause of some throat cancers, according to a new study by US scientists.
The HPV infection, which is passed on through sexual contact, was found to be a much stronger risk factor than tobacco or alcohol use and nine times higher in people who reported oral sex with more than six partners.
HPV infection is the cause of the majority of cervical cancers, and 80% of sexually active women can expect to have an HPV infection at some point in their lives.
Dr Gypsyamber D’Souza, of John Hopkins University who carried out the study took blood and saliva from 100 men and women newly diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer which affects the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue and asked patients about their sex practices and other risk factors for the disease, such as family history.
Those who had evidence of prior oral HPV infection had a 32-fold increased risk of throat cancer while the infection was present in the tumours of 72% of cancer patients in the study.
But Dr Julie Sharp, science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said:”There is conflicting evidence about the role of HPV, and this rare type of mouth cancer.
“As this was a small study, further research is needed to confirm these observations.”