Researchers in the US claim that men who have performed oral sex on at least 5 female partners are more likely to develop head and neck cancer. The risk is further elevated in those who smoke. A US study of 9,425 people aged between 20 and 59 suggested that men who had more oral sex partners had a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Study participants were tested for HPV (human papilloma virus) and asked about the number of oral sex partners they had.
HPV is a very common virus. In the majority of cases, it doesn’t cause any problems, but certain strains are linked to an increased risk of some forms of cancer, including oral and cervical cancer. The findings of the study show that 6 percent of men and 1 percent of women carried potentially harmful strains of HPV. In men, oral HPV was more prevalent in smokers and those who had a high number of oral sexual partners.
The study authors claim that more research needs to be done find out more about the link between oral sex and oral cancer and stressed that the findings do not “prove causation.” Data analysis suggests that harmful strains of HPV are very rare, with 1 in 500 women and 7 in 1,000 men affected.
The study was carried out by research teams at John Hopkins University and Information Services Inc. The findings have been published in the Annals of Oncology journal.