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Oral sex can cause throat cancer? Here's what you need to know

ANI | Updated: Jul 04, 2022 19:57 IST


New Delhi [India], July 4 (ANI): A bizarre yet groundbreaking development has now been found in the research for throat cancer. The main risk factors for developing throat cancer had majorly been smoking and alcohol. But research in recent years has established that throat cancer has a clear connection with oral sex.
New findings in recent years have emphasized that throat cancer can also be found in connection with oral sex and multiple sexual partners due to the transmission of the HPV virus.
According to the Brussels Cancer Registry Foundation, there were 2,766 new head and neck cancer diagnoses in 2019, which equates to 24.2 new diagnoses per 100,000 population per year. The vast majority of the 2,058 diagnoses were made in men, while there were 708 new diagnoses in women.
"The number of throat cancers caused by the HPV virus has increased in recent years," said Dr Pierre Delaere, Professor at UZ Leuven. The human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which is sexually transmitted from person to person in both men and women causes cancer behind the oral cavity.
"Throat cancer involves transmission through oral sex. In the vast majority of cases, the immune system removes the virus from the body, but sometimes it doesn't and the virus settles in the cells of the oral cavity, where you can get a chronic infection. As a result, the cells can undergo a mutation, which can lead to throat cancer," Delaere explains.
Delaere further adds that there are 'many more men than women who get throat cancer, with the ratio estimated at about 70/30.' The main reason is that men are more into smoking and drinking, however, women are catching up in recent years.
Throat cancer can develop in various places in and around the throat, such as in the oral cavity, the space behind the nasal cavity, in the tonsils or at the base of the tongue.
The symptoms are often unclear at first, making the disease only discoverable at an advanced stage. However, there are a number of clear signs. "A persistent sore throat is one of them. Furthermore, a sore in the throat that doesn't seem to go away can be a symptom. Or coughing up blood, hoarseness and discomfort when swallowing. In an advanced stage, swollen neck glands indicate a tumour," says Professor Delaere.
A good thing about this discovery is that there are numerous treatments available depending on the tumour's cause. "In case of throat cancer due to HPV, radiation treatment is usually sufficient, possibly combined with chemotherapy." The same applies to throat cancer as a result of tobacco and alcohol consumption.
"But after metastases in the neck glands, in many cases, an operation can follow in which the tumour is excised. That removal is already being done with robots. If surgery is necessary, we sometimes have to remove part of the throat, which has serious consequences for the patient, because afterwards, it is difficult to speak and swallow," Delaere added.
Fortunately, the chances of a cure are 90 per cent if the cancer is detected in the early stages. Upon late detection, the chances for its cure account for nearly 60 per cent. (ANI)

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