“Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer,” says Dr. Hisham Mehanna
Oral sex may be the biggest factor in the rise of throat cancer in the United States.
Dr. Hisham Mehanna — a professor at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham — said that there has been a “rapid increase” in oropharyngeal cancer, a type of throat cancer, in the past two decades, calling it an “epidemic” in both the U.S. and U.K.
“For oropharyngeal cancer, the main risk factor is the number of lifetime sexual partners, especially oral sex,” Mehanna wrote for The Conversation. “Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States are caused by HPV, or human papillomavirus.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, with 3 million new cases in the U.S. each year. Many people will live their lives without ever knowing that they have HPV, but for some, it can develop into cancer.