In a study of people infected by various strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) scientists have discovered that oral sex presents a greater risk of throat cancer than drinking or smoking.
From the New Scientist:
“People who have had more than five oral-sex partners in their lifetime are 250% more likely to have throat cancer than those who do not have oral sex, a new study suggests. The researchers believe this is because oral sex may transmit human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus implicated in the majority of cervical cancers. The new findings should encourage people to consistently use condoms during oral sex as this could protect against HPV, the team says. Other experts say that the results provide more reason for men to receive the new HPV vaccine.”
In a study of one strain of the virus, those infected were seen to have an incidence of throat cancer 32 times higher than those never having been exposed. In another strain of the virus the incidence was 58 times greater. According to the researchers, “By comparison, either smoking or drinking increases the risk of such cancer by about threefold.”
Doctors have expressed hope that the recently developed HPV vaccine may also be helpful in preventing anal cancer.