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Oral sex said to be lead factor of throat cancer

Oral sex said to be lead factor of throat cancer

Oral sex is said to be the lead factor of throat cancer.

There has been a fast increase in oropharyngeal cancer - a specific type of cancer affecting the tonsils and back of the throat- that experts are calling it an "epidemic".

A Professor at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham wrote an article earlier this week in The Coversation.

Dr Mehanna said the main cause of this cancer is HPV (human papillomavirus) which is sexually transmitted. HPV is also the main cause of cervical cancer.

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The main risk factor for this specific throat cancer is the number of oral-sex partners someone has in a lifetime. Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners have an up to nine-fold increased risk of throat cancer.

Doctors say that oral sex is the biggest risk factor for developing oropharyngeal cancerβ€” more than from smoking, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet.

HPV vaccination of young girls has been implemented in many countries to prevent cervical cancer and it may also be effective in preventing HPV infection in the mouth.

For more info on HPV visit HSE.ie and contact your GP if you have any concerns.

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