Friday 14 May 2021

Oral sex-related throat cancer cases rise six-fold in 20 years

There has been a six-fold increase in throat cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (hpv) in the Netherlands over the past 20 years, according to VU university researcher Michelle Rietbergen.

While smoking and alcohol can lead to throat cancer, around 30% of the 550 cases now recorded a year come via the virus, Rietbergen has found. Hpv is sexually transmitted and can lead to cervical cancer in women.

Having a large number of sex partners and oral sex are risk factors for developing hpv-related cancer.

‘Research abroad shows that the number of sex partners people have is increasing,’ Rietbergen told the Volkskrant. ‘In the US, 70% of throat cancers are hpv positive.’

Men are three times as likely as women to develop throat cancer. However, hpv-related cancer is easier to treat than other forms and the survival prognosis is better, Rietbergen said.

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