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You’ve probably seen the commericals for medication to treat HPV on TV, and may know a little about the disease. HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus, is a leading cause of cervical cancer for women and the numbers of individuals infected with the virus is rising–but not in women. Instead, the virus is contaminating men who perform oral sex on their female partners and is leading to oral cancer.

Previously, the primary reason that men would develop oral cancer would be from smoking cigarettes. But now White men in their late 30s and early 40s are developing oral cancer from performing oral sex on multiple female partners. Doctors warn men that if they’ve had more than 5 or 6 female partners that they’ve engaged in oral sex with, then they are at a higher risk of developing HPV and oral cancer. Women can also get it from men, but the odds are much lower.

The HPV virus is a nasty bug with strains that cause both genital warts and cervical cancer in women, and oral cancer in men. Exposure to the HPV-16 strain of HPV is specifically linked to oral cancer. Oral cancer can go a long time without being detected until it is spotted by the telltale lump on the neck or persistent hoarseness of the voice. Eerily, patients can still feel perfectly fine even in the late stages of oral cancer. However, if detected early on, treatments are between 85-90% effective and include localized radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. Doctors are urging patients to be aware of the risks of oral sex, but acknowledge that this is not a call to stop engaging in the act. Instead, they simply suggest the same guidelines to protect onself from other sexually transmitted diseases: limit the number of partners, use protection, and talk to your doctor.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Jane Doe

    I do agree with the above statements, however, 1 major points are missing.

    The first is that Oral Sex by Male to Female or Male as well as Female to Male or Female increases risk of HPV progression including ulcers, warts, and cancer.

    The second huge issue is that women are offered the option of HPV Vaccine. However there are no current guidelines for Male vaccination. This decreases the risk of Female cancer and complications, as well as maintains a high risk for Male HPV associated oral cancer.

    If Adolescent males are/were to be vaccinated as adolescent females, then the number of male oral cancers secondary HPV would dramatically plummet.

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