A new study published in the journal Annals of Oncology found a link between oral sex and cancer. Basically, the study found that men who have a high number of oral sexual partners could have a higher likelihood of contracting head and neck cancer. The risk of also increases if you smoke.
But does this mean that you should stop having oral sex or worry that your love of oral sex will kill you? We had our resident sexpert Alex Liu do some research and here’s what he found….
This video explains the link between oral sex and cancer:
The truth about oral sex and cancer
Every year about 59,000 Americans (about two in 10,000) are diagnosed with some form of head or neck cancer. Scientists estimate that about 70% to 90% of these cancers are positive for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that can be passed by skin-on-skin or skin-fluid contact as well as by oral contact with penises, vaginas and anuses.
Your risk of contracting HPV-related head or neck cancers increases significantly if you’ve had more than five oral sex partners or more than 25 vaginal sex partners in your lifetime.
While HPV causes more cancer than smoking, that doesn’t mean that smoking is safer than oral sex. That’s because even though the number of smoking-related (non-HPV-positive) cancers in the U.S. have gone down because of a reduction in overall smoking, you’re more likely to die from a tobacco-associated cancer than you are from HPV.
The good news is that HPV is extremely common. It’s estimated that by age 50 around 80% to 90% of most people will have contracted it at least once, and more than 90% of the time, people’s immune systems naturally get rid of the virus within two years.
The additional good news is that HPV-positive head and neck cancers have a high survival rate. More than half of people with tobacco-related, HPV-negative head and neck cancers don’t survive over five years. But when an HPV-related head and neck cancer is properly treated, 85% to 90% of people are disease-free after five years.
So if you regularly have oral sex with multiple partners, it’s likely that your immune system may clear the virus. And even if you do get HPV-positive head or neck cancer, there’s a high chance that, with proper treatment, you’ll survive it.
Furthermore, there’s also an HPV vaccine that looks pretty effective at preventing HPV-related cancers. The vaccine is recommended for people under the age of 26, but even people over the age of 26 can still talk to their doctors to see if the vaccine is a good choice for them.]
Featured image by petrdlouhy via iStock