Another study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of HPV, a virus that has been implicated in the majority of cervical cancers and which has been detected in throat cancer tissue in numerous studies. The study concludes that people who had one to five oral sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity and those with more than five oral sex partners had a 250 percent increased risk.
Oral sex is common among sexually active adults. According to a national survey conducted from June 2006 through December 2008, over 80% of sexually active youth and adults ages 15-44 years reported having had oral sex at least once with a partner of the opposite sex. The same survey found that 45% or more of teenage girls and boys (ages 15-19 years) report having had oral sex with a partner of the opposite sex.
Doctors used to think that human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, couldn’t affect the mouth. But recent research has them rethinking this notion. Scientists have now shown that the same high-risk strains of HPV that lead to cervical cancer can also be transmitted by oral sex and potentially cause head, neck, and throat cancer, as well.