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Oral Sex More Likely To Cause Throat Cancer Than Tobacco

Oral sex stampIn a disturbing new finding, scientists warn that a virus spread during oral sex is now the main cause of throat cancer in people under the age of 50, outstripping tobacco as the major culprit.  The human papilloma virus, spread during unprotected sex, is mostly known as the cause of 70 percent of cervical cancers, but it can also lead to other cancers, like throat cancer.  A vaccine against some strains of the virus has been administered to young women and girls since 2008, and doctors have recommended that boys be vaccinated too.

This is particularly disturbing because of the discussion recently of young people’s attitudes toward oral sex, which can often be casual, to the point where many people don’t even consider oral sex to be “sex,” per se.  Only about 20 percent of college students who participated in a 2007 survey considered oral-genital contact to be sex, as opposed to the majority, which classed penile-vaginal and penile-anal contact as “sex.”  The way that people think about these different interactions has obvious and serious implications for how likely they are to use protection.

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