Oral sex is one of the risk factors for mouth or oropharyngeal cancer. How does it happen?
You need to know, oral and oropharyngeal cancers are included in the neck and head group. Neck and head cancer includes mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses and salivary glands. Well, specifically for oral and oropharyngeal cancers, one of the causes is human papillomavirus infection.
Although the exact cause is unknown, it is suspected drinking and smoking can trigger oral and oropharyngeal cancers. Other than that, having oral sex with six different partners have 3.4 times higher of developing oropharyngeal cancer.
There is other evidence, mouth infection due to HPV is one of the main causes of oropharyngeal cancer.
There are more than 100 types of HPV, and 15 of them are oncogenic or causing cancer. One of them is cervical cancer. The HPV found in your mouth is almost all transmitted through oral sex, so it is possible oral sex is the main cause of getting this virus.
Some types of HPV also cause warts, including in genital organ, and are transmitted through skin contact. However, the type of HPV that causes warts is low risk or not cancerous.
Few studies have examined the comparison of men and women who are more at risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer. However, so far, oropharyngeal cancer associated with HPV infection is more common in men. Men who have oropharyngeal cancer are two times more than women. It is most common in heterosexual men in their 40s and 50s.
HPV doesn't directly cause cancer, but this virus changes infected cells, like the throat or cervix. The abnormalities of these cells then develop into cancer.
Not all people infected with HPV will become cancerous. Only one in 10 cases of HPV infection is at risk of becoming cancerous. This means nine HPV infection will heal on its own within two years. Even so, viruses tend to be difficult to lose for smokers. This is because cigarettes damage special protective cells in the skin and make the virus settle.
The correlation between HPV and oral or oropharyngeal cancer is still being studied by experts. Therefore, to prevent the risk of oral cancer, always use condoms during risky sexual intercourse, and you shouldn't change partners. Avoid oral sex.
Immediately consult a doctor if you feel there are unusual symptoms that don't disappear, like white or red spots in the oral cavity, canker sores that don't heal for three weeks, swelling that doesn't hurt in the tonsils, pain when swallowing, or pain in one of your ears.
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