13 Jan

New study suggests having over 10 sexual partners increases throat cancer risk

A new study suggests that having more than 10 sexual partners can elevate the risk of developing throat cancer. 

Researchers in the US surveyed more than 500 people, asking questions about their sexual practices and history. The team found that people who had more sexual partners were more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer. The oropharynx is located in the middle section of the throat. People who had more than 10 sexual partners were 4.3 times more likely to develop mouth and throat cancers associated with the HPV (human papillomavirus) than those with fewer sexual partners. 

Researchers also discovered that having oral sex with different partners increased the risk of cancers linked to HPV exposure. 

Dr Virginia Drake, study author and otolaryngologist at the John Hopkins University, explained that the paper covers additional factors, which relate to contemporary lifestyle habits. Previously, studies have focused on the role of oral sex and mouth and throat cancer risk, but this project also investigates the impact of having multiple sexual partners. HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer is becoming more prevalent in the US, and it is important for researchers, healthcare professionals and patients to understand the causes and risk factors. Many people may be unaware of the potential risks of engaging in sexual contact or intercourse with others, and studies like this one underline the link between behaviours and cancer risk.

Dr Drake and her research team polled a total of 508 adults, including 163 who had HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. Researchers asked questions about sexual experiences and behaviours to determine how habits influenced cancer prevalence. People who had more than 10 sexual partners were over 4 times more likely to develop HPV-related mouth or throat cancer than those with fewer partners.