Oral sex may increase chances of head and neck cancer
Although smoking and alcohol consumption are still the major risk factors for developing head and neck cancer, another villain has worried experts worldwide for weighing the increased incidence of throat cancer (oropharynx) and, as recent research shows, mouth cancer. This is the Human Papilloma Virus, or simply HPV, which is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, including oral sex.
To get an idea, in five years, in the USA, cancer of the head and neck, according to FAIR Health report published in 2016. For researchers, this increase in the index may be related to the contraction of HPV through oral sex, as the number of smokers is decreasing in the US with the campaigns
Specifically speaking of mouth and throat cancer (oropharynx), there has been an increase in patients with these diseases in non-smoking and / or orphaned practices. In Brazil, the National Cancer Institute (Inca) estimates that, per year, the country registers 14 thousand new cases of oral cancer. Not all are caused or are related to HPV infection, but virus involvement has been increasing. Today, it is estimated that HPV is present in about 30% of cancers of the mouth in patients under 45.
It is important to note that not everyone who has HPV infection will have head and neck cancer, although there is an increased risk. Other factors, such as alcohol and smoking, can increase this risk if associated. The good news is that HPV-related throat tumors have a better prognosis than those caused by smoking, responding better to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and often do not even need surgery.
Prevention remains the best path . Therefore, the indication is to practice oral sex with the use of male and female condoms and, with this, to avoid the contact of skin and mucosa, without infection by the HPV with the infected skin. In the medium to long term, immunization of children and adolescents can also help in reducing infection and, perhaps, have some preventive role in this scenario.
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