Friday, May 11, 2007

Oral Sex: Can it give you cancer?

OK, I'm having a slow day on the celeb front, so it's weird news posts I'm afraid.

According to Yahoo News, US researchers are saying that a common virus, known as HPV, that's believed to be transmitted during oral sex is apparently the cause of a rare kind of throat cancer in men and women.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, who studied 100 men and women newly diagnosed with the rare malignancy and 200 healthy people found that a common strain of HPV -- HPV 16 -- was present in 72 percent of tumours.

Patients whose blood or saliva samples indicated that they had prior HPV infection were 32 times more likely to develop oropharnygeal cancer, which affects the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue.

And those people who had had more than six oral sex partners were 8.6 times more likely to develop the HPV-linked cancer.

The figures establish HPV infection as the greatest risk factor for this type of cancer, overturning previous theories blaming a pack-a-day smoking habit for 20 years, or regular heavy alcohol consumption over 15 years. Continue reading

But before you throw your hands up and think life is indeed all hard work and no fun anymore, rest assured that, "... oropharyngeal cancer is relatively uncommon and the overwhelming majority of people with an oral HPV infection probably will not get throat cancer," said study author Maura Gillison.


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