Gill Stannard

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Should healthy girls (and boys) swallow?

Apologies if you find the subject distasteful but this is a health issue rarely talked about. While oral sex is reportedly on the rise amongst teens, women and men of all ages are developing cancer of the throat in increasing numbers due to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). In one report researchers referred to this form of HPV related cancer as “a mini-epidemic”. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and a member of the wart family. It is a major cause of cervical cancer and implicated in penile cancer.

While the link between HPV and cervical cancer is well know, the oral sex and oropharyngeal cancer connection has been largely ignored. Recent studies have now identified that HPV, is responsible for 1:4 cancers of the head and neck. This number is rising and beginning to exceed tobacco and alcohol as the leading cause of throat cancer alone.

Like all other HPV related cancers, the greater numbers of sexual partners increases the odds of contracting it the virus and the development of a malignancy.

While other STI’s such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia can cause throat infections, HPV can often be asymptomatic. If you have any concerns about STI’s of any kind or sexual health in general Melbourne Sexual Health is an invaluable resource. The staff are fantastic and the service is free, you don’t even need a Medicare card.

As yet there are no studies regarding the new contravercial HPV vaccine and prevention of throat cancer.


Related articles

Boys and HPV

Reactions to the HPV vaccine

3 comments:

gin said...

Fascinating!
Thank you so much for bringing this issue to public awareness

John said...

Abuse of the ED drugs is a much serious and discussed topic. Levitra is often dubbed as the safest of the lot. Unfortunately it has its share of side-effects and very effective ones at that. A few months back, the FDA asked the manufacturers of levitra to make amends to its labels and declare that the drug might adversely affect a person’s eyesight and hearing.

Gill Stannard Naturopath said...

I think what John is commenting on is the report released yesterday about the rise in STI's in people aged over 45yo.

In fact men in their 50's are a fast growing group of those newly acquiring a sexual infection.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7477739.stm

This rise is being linked to viagra, levitra and the whole host of drugs to overcome erectile dysfunction (ED) that may have previously rendered people in this group less sexually active.

What is more this age group has rarely been targeted in safe sex campaigns and are one of the least likely to think that the need to use condoms applies to them.

Consequently their partners, including women in the over 45 yo age bracket are also becoming newly infected.