Is oral sex to blame for increasing mouth cancer rates?

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Brit-based nonprofit Oral Health Foundation (OHF) reports that when most cancer cases are declining, the number of oral cancer diagnoses had, unfortunately, doubled in the last generation.
  • OHF chief executive Dr. Nigel Carter warned that although mouth cancer is typically caused by smoking and boozing, the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus is becoming a more common cause.
  • The Oral Cancer Foundation in the US reported that there are about 54,000 Americans being diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer yearly, with at least one patient dying per hour every day.



A new awareness campaign by the Brit-based nonprofit Oral Health Foundation says that while most cancers are decreasing, oral cancer cases “have more than doubled in a generation.”

Mouth cancer numbers have shot up 135 percent in the UK over the past 20 years. In 2018 alone, from a total of 8,337 patients in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, seven people are reported to die every day from the disease.

In the US, the Oral Cancer Foundation reported around 54,000 Americans being diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer yearly, with at least one patient dying per hour every day, resulting to an estimated 13,500 deaths in a year.

OHF chief executive Dr. Nigel Carter told the Daily Mail that although smoking and alcohol consumption are traditional risk factors, the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) is becoming a fast-rising risk factor. The hygiene advocacy group reports that HPV causes approximately 73 percent of oral or oropharyngeal mouth cancers.

Describing mouth cancer a ‘devastating’ disease, Carter said it often alters a person’s physical appearance, making it more difficult for them to speak, eat and drink.

This is not the first time the STI being linked to cancer has attracted much publicity.

HPV can cause other types of cancers associated with sex acts. Actor Michael Douglas once blamed oral intercourse for his throat cancer diagnosis, while “Desperate Housewives” actress Marcia Cross turned into an awareness advocate after having an anal cancer diagnosis.

Besides sex, consuming over 10 alcoholic drinks per week is tied to about 33 percent of diagnoses, reports the OHF. Smoking also causes 17 percent of rates and a 91 percent increase in individual risks.

Meanwhile, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer in the US is estimated at 57 percent. Those who manage to survive it would have to do so without a tongue or jaw.

 

Source: New York Post

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