Oral sex can raise risk for head and neck cancer by seven times

Oral sex can spread viruses that can cause head and neck cancers, according to a new study. The research shows a strong connection between the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be spread through oral sex, and head and neck cancer. The virus can raise the risk of getting head and neck cancer by as much as seven times, and maybe by far more, scientists say. The study involved nearly 97,000 people in two studies, according to the researchers.

HPV accounts for 70% of head and neck cancer, according to experts. It is so prevalent that by 2020 it is predicted to beat cervical cancer as the main cancer caused by HPV.

Head and neck cancers were long thought to have been caused by smoking and drinking. But a sharp rise in the number of cases led doctors to speculate that there may be another cause, and the new study is the first to show conclusively that HPV-16 precedes the development of those cancers. The research, conducted by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, was published in 'JAMA Oncology'.   Read more via the Independent