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Having more than ten previous oral sex partners quadruples the risk of oropharyngeal cancer

The human papilloma virus (HPV) can infect the mouth and throat and cause oropharyngeal cancers. Now a new study published in “Cancer,” the journal of the American Cancer Society, has concluded that have more than 10 partners previous ones with which it has been practiced oral sex is associated with a 4.3 times greater probability of developing oropharyngeal cancer related to HPV. Research also shows that the younger you start oral sex and with more partners in a shorter period of time, the higher the chances of getting HPV-related mouth and throat cancer.

Previous studies have already shown that practicing oral sex is a major risk factor for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. To examine how sexual behavior may affect this risk, Virginia Drake, a Johns Hopkins University Professor of Medicine, and her colleagues asked 163 people with HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer and 345 healthy people to complete a behavioral survey.

In addition to the timing and intensity of oral sex, people who had older sexual partners when they were young and those who had partnered with extramarital sex were more likely to develop HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.

“Our study builds on previous research to show that it is not only the number of oral sexual partners but also other previously unappreciated factors that contribute to the risk of oral HPV exposure and subsequent HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer ”Explains Dr. Drake. “As the incidence of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer continues to rise in the United States, our study provides a contemporary assessment of risk factors for this disease. We have discovered additional nuances of how and why some people can develop this cancer, which can help identify those who are most at risk, ”concludes the researcher.

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