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Oral sex can lead to throat cancer

7-28-2012 National:

KIRKSVILLE, MO. -- If you thought oral sex was safer sex, think again. It can actually kill you. That's because having oral sex with someone that has Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, can lead to cancer in the throat area.

Researchers estimate there are 50,000 new cases nationwide, and 11,500 people that die from the disease every year.

"Exposure is typically genital to oral and that can go from any individual to any individual regardless of their gender, and so if their partner is shedding the virus actively and you can't see it, you can't know it, it just happens."

Dr. Ralph Boling said throat cancer is much more prevalent in men, with studies indicating a ratio of 2:1 and up to 4:1. Also, smoking and alcohol consumption combined with HPV significantly increase the chances of contracting cancer in the throat area.

Boling said most people do not notice they have the disease until they have trouble with their speech, or swallowing. If the cancer spreads, Dr. Boling said doctors may have to remove areas of the mouth or throat.

"If it's grown into your jaw, into your throat box, your larynx, those tissues are typically removed and there are no easy replacements for those tissues. Once it spreads and gets into your system, throughout your body, it will eventually be deadly."

When we asked random people walking around downtown Kirksville, some were aware of the disease but others had no idea that oral sex can lead to throat cancer, a deadly disease.

"That's quite shocking actually," said Heather Spurling, of Harris, Mo. "I just never thought of it that way I guess. I don't know."

Dr. Boling said he realizes most people will not stop having sexual contact to avoid throat cancer but, he said there are other risky behaviors that people can cease that will help them avoid contracting the disease.

"Short of saying, never have sexual contact of any kind, because I don't expect people to live that kind of a lifestyle, I suggest they strongly consider getting rid of tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, and trying to take care of themselves overall, keeping a strong immune system."

Here is a link to more information. ..Source.. by Stephanie Claytor

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