Oral Sex Linked to Throat Cancer (Just ask Michael Douglas!)

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HPV throat cancerLung cancer is often insidious, producing no symptoms until the disease is well advanced. – Medscape

As a report stated, “Michael Douglas’s announcement that his throat cancer was caused by human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease, has raised awareness about a men’s health trend doctors have been alarmed about for years.” (1)

A study shows more friends with benefits is not always better. The study found a link between the number of oral sex partners and the risk of esophageal cancer. 92.6% of patients with throat cancer also had an HPV infection.

“When researchers from Ohio State University compared people with mouth or throat cancer with those without, the greatest difference was their oral sexual behaviour.”

The greater the number of oral sex partners someone had had, the greater their risk of oesophageal cancer,” says an article from MSN News published on May 13, 2013. (2) The article goes on to note that, “Rates of oesophagus cancer have been on the rise, particularly in men.” (2) And, esophageal cancer is known to be associated with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

throat cancer symptoms

In the same way that HPV can cause Cervical Dysplasia, which can then develop into cervical cancer, HPV can cause a condition known as Barrett’s Dysplasia.

In this condition, “normal tissue lining the esophagus — the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach – changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine.”  Barrett’s Dysplasia can then develop into esophageal cancer. This cancer is potentially a very serious, fatal cancer.

Just as Cervical Dysplasia has no physical symptoms, Barrett’s Dysplasia also has no obvious symptoms.

With male and female high school students now being immunised against HPV, experts hope the incidence of oesophageal cancer will drop over the next 20 years. It should be noted, however, that if an individual is already infected with HPV, the vaccine will not be effective.


(1) Jaslow, R. Oral sex and throat cancer: Michael Douglas HPV report spotlights “epidemic” June 3, 2013 CBS News.com

(2) http://www.ninemsn.com.au/article/8656404?site=http://www.health


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