November is Mouth Cancer Action Month. Most people are aware of some of the risks factors that are associated with Oral cancer, such as Smoking, Alcohol and Poor Diet, but not many know Oral Sex is also a concern. Due to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), transmitted via
oral sex, is increasingly being linked to mouth cancer. Younger people
are particularly at risk. A recent study in the USA has connected over
20,000 mouth cancer cases to HPV in the last five years. Experts suggest
it may rival tobacco and alcohol as a key risk factor within 10 years,
although some research indicates that people with mouth cancer caused by
HPV may have a greater chance of survival. People with multiple sexual
partners are more at risk.
HPV virus is not just an oral sex virus, it can be passed on via anal or vaginal intercourse, and is the main cause of Genital Warts and Cervical Cancer. And although there is national screening implimented in schools for girls to vaccinate against HPV, it is still important to go for regualr cervical smear tests. For men there is currently no implimented screening programme unless you go to your own GP or Gum Clinic. The safest way to protect against the HPV virus is barrier methods such as Condoms and Dams. Many couples will only use condoms or anal/vaginal sex, but it is just as important to use them when giving and recieveing oral sex and as you are probabaly aware condoms and dams come in a variety of flavours for this reason.
If you still have any concerns about HPV, mouth cancer or anything touched upon in this news item add a comment below, or visit our Q&A on the website or call us directly. http://www.mouthcancer.org/