25 October 2017
. . . increases risk of throat cancer
WHILE oral sex indisputably increases intimacy in relationships, a recent study has revealed that there has been in an upsurge in the number of oral sex-related throat cancers over the years.
Researchers further posit that sexual revolution over the years has also attributed to the rise in oral sex-related throat cancers that are caused by oral human papilloma-virus adding that cunnilingus further increased the risk in men.
According a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States, there has been a rise in oral sex-related throat cancers in the past years.
The survey had data from 13 089 people aged between 20-69 who participated between 2009 and 2014 to see how many people had oral HPV revealing that one in nine men were orally infected with HPV. The rates were higher in men than women with 11, 5 percent picked in men versus 3,2 percent in women.
“Cases have increased and only now are doctors seeing the effects. It is usually right where you get swollen glands from tonsillitis, the upper part of the neck right next to your voice box region,” an American doctor, Ted Teknos, was quoted as saying.
“We are seeing the tip of the iceberg of this problem, and it is really a public health crisis. We are just seeing the effects now, but it is going to be much more common in the coming years and decades.”
While Zimbabwe has never done a survey on the risk of oral sex due to resource constraints, AIDS and TB unit director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi noted that there was a huge risk of sexually transmitted and HIV infection during oral sex.
“We had hoped we could include a research on oral sex risks in the ZIMPHIA or Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey but it has not been possible due to resource constraints. But one thing for sure is that there is an increased risk of infection during oral sex as one gets to lick the bacteria hence carries a risk of infection.
“There is a risk of getting infections such as gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, herpes and other infections during oral sex.
“There is also a risk of acquiring HIV orally due to the exchange of fluids and that is why some developed countries use dental dams for protection during oral sex,” he said.
He argued that dental dams were however not very popular even in developed countries as people tend to have oral sex without protection and only put on condoms during penetrative sex.
“People will only think of protection during penetrative sex, hence increasing the risk of infection during oral sex. It should however be noted that the risk of infection during oral sex is less than that of penetrative vaginal and anal sex.
“Although the risk is lesser than that of penetrative, we still insist on practise of safer sex at all times.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40 types of HPV can infect genital areas while the same types that infect genital areas can infect the mouth and throat.
HPV found in the mouth and throat is called oral HPV and some types of oral HPV, known as cancer-causing types can cause cancers of the throat including the base of the tongue and tonsils.
HPV is according to CDC is the most common sexually transmitted infection and it common that nearly sexually active people get it at some point in their lives.
CDC asserts that condoms and dental dams, when used consistently and correctly, will lower the chances of getting oral HPV during oral sex because they can stop the transmission of HPV from person to person at a time when researchers insists that the number of people diagnosed with HPV-linked throat cancer is growing.