Do you love oral sex?
Men enjoy oral sex, whether it’s on the giving or receiving end of it. Statistics show that men over the age of 30 are 10% more likely to give oral sex than to receive it from their female partners. Yes – men love oral sex, and what we’re about to discuss with you may put you off oral sex for good.
Oral Sex and Cancer Link
Recent studies show that oral sex raises the risk of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer, a form of throat cancer caused by HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus, the most sexually-transmitted virus. It’s the same kind of virus that causes cervical cancer in women. The problem with HPV is the fact that it’s incredibly widespread, and the study suggests that oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer would be an even bigger problem by 2020.
HPV is not exclusively transmitted through sexual penetration. In fact, even the exchange of bodily fluids such as kissing could transmit the virus to another person. In most cases, HPV infections manifest by causing the growth of warts in various infected areas. As HPV is mostly transmitted through sexual penetration, it often causes genital warts to grow. Since HPV can also be transmitted through oral sex, some individuals develop common warts in the mouth region. Individuals who develop warts in the mouth are at a much higher risk of developing oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer.
In 90% of HPV infections, the virus completely goes away in about two years. If the infection lasts longer than two years, the risk of developing warts and cancer significantly increases.
This is due to the ability of the Human Papillomavirus to mutate cells, causing abnormal growth, which manifests through warts and certain cancers. Since men are more inclined to be on the giving end of oral sex, the risk of transmitting the virus is much higher, compared to men who do not participate in cunnilingus.
Throat Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of throat cancer, for the most part, are tricky to spot. At its early stages of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer, it only causes minor uncomfortable conditions. If two or three of these symptoms manifest at the same time, contact your physician and have yourself tested ASAP.
Throat cancer symptoms include:
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Painful sore throat
- Frequent need to clear your throat by coughing
- Persistent cough
- Voice change
- Weight loss
If you suspect that you have throat cancer, please have yourself checked and tested by your GP as soon as possible. Since oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer is often visible from the throat, your doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist once they positively identify abnormal growth in your throat. Doctors may use various imaging tests such as MRIs, PET scans, and CT scans to identify the tumor and how extensive the growth is.
Getting an early diagnosis of throat cancer is the key to managing the condition. Throat cancer has a high survival rate if diagnosed early, and there are plenty of options to manage the condition if you happen to have it, such as surgery chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Throat Cancer Risk Factors
Cunnilingus isn’t the only factor that increases your risk of getting throat cancer. As there are many other causes of abnormal cell growth aside from HPV, plenty of other risk factors are involved. Here are some other factors that increase your risk:
Smoking greatly increases your risk of getting throat cancer as well as lung cancer. Habitual smoking dramatically alters cell development in your lungs and throat, which could lead to tumor growth and cancer.
Alcohol abuse could lead to liver damage, scarring, inflammation, and eventually – tumor growth and cancer. As you intake alcohol, it also damages your oropharyngeal facilities, damaging cells, causing inflammation, tumor growth, and possibly – cancer.
Poor dental hygiene
Bacterial infections in your mouth and throat could also lead to throat cancer. Infections cause inflammations, which could lead to tumor growth.
Should you worry about Throat Cancer?
It’s responsible to be prepared about your health, and knowing threats to your health would help you manage the condition if it ever progresses.
According to a study, more than 17500 new cases of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer were reported in the United States in 2018. The figure is slightly higher compared to 2017, which indicates that the incidence of throat cancer is indeed increasing. However, the survival and cure rates of the cancer are also improving.
Men are more at-risk compared to females, with a ratio of 2.7:1, which is more than double the rate of cancer risk. 60% of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer cases are caused by HPV, while other incidences of the cancer are caused by the other risk factors. The risk factor further increases if an individual smokes, performs cunnilingus, and abuses alcohol.
All about HPV
HPV infection is the single factor that directly affects your sexual health. Basically, the risk of HPV infection may put you off from performing cunnilingus on your partner. Some experts predict that the oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer will be a bigger problem than cervical cancer in 2020, since there is a vaccine that prevents cervical cancer, and there is a worldwide campaign urging women to take these vaccines.
As the incidence of cervical cancer is projected to decrease, the incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer can be expected to decrease as well in the coming years, since the primary risk factor of HPV infection is being addressed through the vaccine. The vaccine that prevents Cervical Cancer in women ultimately helps prevent oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer in men as it reduces the infection rates of HPV.
Reducing Your Risk
As good as it sounds, it does not fully guarantee that you are no longer at-risk of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer today – especially if you have a very active sex life. Oral sex with multiple sexual partners is a risk many men take without even knowing it. Here are some tips that may help you protect yourself against HPV infections:
Beef up your immune system
Beefing up your immune system is basically the same as living a healthy lifestyle – exercise regularly, include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, avoid smoking, and practice hygiene. According to experts, 50% of those infected with HPV would eventually fight off the infection within 8-12 months, and a major factor that affects your body’s ability to fight off infection is your immune system. You can also take multivitamins to help boost your immune system and prevent vitamin deficiencies that weaken your immune system.
Practice Safe Sex
If you’re going to be intimate with a person that you have just recently met, then it may not be the time to give oral sex. Considering the risks you’re taking, it may be a smart decision to be patient and wait until you know the person enough to give oral sex.
Get tested regularly
HPV infections are more common than you think, and since throat cancer is best diagnosed in its early stages, it could be beneficial to undergo regular check-ups with your GP, at least twice every year. Men who have multiple sexual partners are always advised by doctors to get tested regularly to spot infections or diseases in its early stages.