Oral Sex and Throat Cancer

Researchers from Ohio State University examined throat tumor samples collected over twenty years up to 2004 and found a 56% increase in the number linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV). “Throat cancers caused by a virus transmitted during oral sex have increased significantly in the United States in recent years,” researchers reported. (Source: NYTimes.com)

They said the increase in HPV-related cases is related to more sexual partners and greater exposure to HPV. HPV can cause infected cells to become pre-cancerous, and some of those cellscan become cancerous. Usually there are no symptoms of HPV noticed by people infected by it. About 20 million Americans are believed to be infected currently, and about half of sexually active adults eventually get the virus, but usually it doesn’t cause health problems. It can cause cervical cancer and anal cancer though.

Throat cancers associated with HPV are increasing and by 2020 there could be 8,700 cases. (Most of those will be in men.) The number of HPV-related throat cancer cases in men is expected to exceed the number of cervical cancer cases related to HPV after 2020.

Throat cancer related to HPV is not as deadly as throat cancer that is not related to the virus. In HPV-related cases median survival is over ten years. It cases unrelated to HPV, it is a little over one and half years.

The side effects of throat cancer treatment can be disfigurement, speech problems, dramatic weight loss, nausea, vomiting and significant pain. If the voicebox is disabled or must be surgically removed, it is likely to be depressing. Depending on the individual, cancer can be emotionally traumatizing.

The Oral Cancer Foundation says about 36,000 Americans will be diagnosed with throat cancer this year. Only a little more than half will likely be alive in five years.

More cases could be treated effectively if they were diagnosed earlier, but oral cancer often doesn’t exhibit many symptoms. Tobacco and alcohol use are believed to be a primary cause of oral cancer, but HPV might replace them as the main cause, according to the foundation. They also say it occurs twice as often in the black population as the white.

According to the Mayo Clinic the symptoms of throat cancer can be:

A cough
Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness
Difficulty swallowing
Ear pain
A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
A sore throat
Weight loss

Image Credit: Persian Poet

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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago


Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

At least, Jake, you have kept your sense of humor. I know many think you, as well as most writers on Care.2 couldn't get a job anywhere else. That is true for many, and while I do fault some of what you write, for the most part, I think you at least, try very hard to be factual. I'm not trying to be snarky, just saying what I think, and if you disagree, that's your prerrogative, as it's mine to fault what I read in your articles. I don't fault all of them, by any means. This one wasn't so much "unfactual" as simply lacking in ALL facts, and the study wasn't scientfic enough, nor did it mention numbers or length of time. You're right in that universities don't hire just anyone, BUT that doesn't mean all the studies they publish results of are scientifically done, either. They often don't span enough time, involve enough study participants, or even of those who are pertinent to the study. They can "skew" results any way they wish.

BTW, my local news (KOMO TV) Seattle ABC affiliate, just had a news story about this topic. It states many of the same things as your article does, BUT it also says the cancer is very avoidable in the first place. If you'd like me to post a link, I can, but it's also available if you Google, KOMO-TV.

Jake R.
Jake R5 years ago

Diane wrote:

"As for "a study", anyone can do a study."

This is clearly false. "Anyone" can not get a job at a university conducting public health research as was cited in this article, unless they have credentials. The study cited is valid.

"I just did one myself! "

This is also false. Reading on Care2 is not a research study.
Anyone who believes reading on Care2 by someone with no credentials, has no idea what real research is.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Jake, if you weren't so quick to become annoyed at criticism, you might have gotten the implication of what Cherry meant. She was comparing the importance of onion dip to throat cancer. Your article took 1/2 a page. She obviously saw one elsewhere in Care.2 about onion dip that took 3 pages to read. They are written like that all the time. Many of us have commented about how annoying it is to wade thru multiple pages, only 1/4th of which has any actual text. You misunderstood what Cherry meant, and I think you should apologize for jumping on her.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Good grief, Jake. If you write an article that is slanted or biased, you need to be prepared to get some criticism. You don't seem willing to accept any regarding your articles when things are pointed out. Yes, mentioning ONLY a possibile "danger" is biased, and if one doesn't mention there are ways to prevent such things from occurring, it's not a fairly written article. One can get AIDS from unsafe sex, so if you wrote an article implying that having intercourse results in AIDS, would it be without bias? No, of course not.

As for "a study", anyone can do a study. I just did one myself! I came up with the results that of all the Care.2 discussions I have read lately, many, if not "most" of them are poorly written or lack facts. You cited "A" study......"“Throat cancers caused by a virus transmitted during oral sex have increased significantly in the United States in recent years,” researchers reported"....it's right above in this article.

The 2nd paragraph alone, had four instances of "can cause", "are believed" or "could result" in it. Those are implications, not facts.

Jake R.
Jake R5 years ago

Patrick wrote:

"random statistics are enough to prove the point but furthermore that those statistics HAVE NOTHING to do with oral sex."

No Patrick, this was a careful public health study. The statistics are not the least bit random. This quote is directly from the source: "Throat cancers caused by a virus transmitted during oral sex have increased significantly in the United States in recent years, researchers reported on Monday."

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/oral-sex-and-throat-cancer.html#ixzz1buFXJIjj

Jake R.
Jake R5 years ago

Cherry wrote:

"We get three pages of a onion dip, and 1/2 page of
on throat cancer!"

The article is not even three pages, and there is zero mention of onion dip. There clearly is reference to throat cancer. Didn't see the info from the Mayo Clinic?

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/oral-sex-and-throat-cancer.html#ixzz1buDv24Sx

Jake R.
Jake R5 years ago

Patrick, Your comments are extremely negative. Can you comment about the research at all, or just post insults?

Jake R.
Jake R5 years ago

Heather, you are right. It is just denial.

Jake R.
Jake R5 years ago

Susan, FTA:

The type of sexual activity is implied, and look at the source which clearly references it.

"They said the increase in HPV-related cases is related to more sexual partners and greater exposure to HPV."

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/oral-sex-and-throat-cancer.html#ixzz1buAqvMrH