The rise in oropharyngeal cancer, which some have called an epidemic, has been caused by the increase in oral sex, according to Professor Hisham Mehanna, a leading surgeon from the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham.
Those who have six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex, says Mehanna.
To combat the rise, he recommends boys and girls receive their HPV vaccine, typically in Year 8.
“Over the past two decades, there has been a rapid increase in throat cancer in the west, to the extent that some have called it an epidemic,” said Professor Mehanna, writing in The Conversation.
“The main cause of this cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is also the main cause of cancer of the cervix. Oropharyngeal cancer has now become more common than cervical cancer in the US and the UK.
“HPV is sexually transmitted. For oropharyngeal cancer, the main risk factor is the number of lifetime sexual partners, especially oral sex. Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex.”
Dr Mehanna explained that this could lead to an HPV infection at the back of the throat or near the tonsil. These infections go away on their own in most cases but can sometimes persist and cause cancer.
There is a vaccine for HPV, which is 80 percent effective and available in several parts of developed countries.
Throat cancer survival rate
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. They can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had specific cancer, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Your doctor is familiar with your situation; ask how these numbers may apply to you.