The very common human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, can end up in our mouths via oral sex and lead to throat cancer. A study conducted by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and published in JAMA Oncology reported a link between HPV-16 virus and the presence of tumors in the mouth, base of the tongue, and tonsils.
The researchers clarify that HPV doesn't directly cause throat cancer, but that HPV does change the cells and can make them cancerous. People with HPV-16 were found to be 22 times more likely to have throat cancer than those who don't have any trace of the virus.
There are other types of oral HPVs, and researchers also found that those can cause head and neck cancers.
In case this piece of news isn't surprising enough, previous research has seen that men are twice as likely to get throat cancer than women. It could be because HPV virus can have greater concentrations on the vulva; more research needs to be done on this.
The good news is that there are three vaccines to prevent HPV infections. Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix all prevent HPV-16 and -18 infections and prevent HPV-linked cancers. Gardasil prevents infections from HPV-6 and -11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts. Gardasil 9 prevents infections from HPV types 16, 18, 6, 11, plus 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
Females 9 to 26 can get Gardasil and Gardasil 9, while those until 25 years old can get Cervarix. Males 9 to 26 can get Gardasil and those 9 to 15 can get Gardasil 9. Ask your doctor which one is best for you, or if you are over 26 years old.
If you never considered getting yourself vaccinated, you might want to start thinking about it. The vaccine is effective so it will protect you from the most common HPV infections and the cancers they can cause. Apart from that, you help reduce the prevalence of HPV and you protect your partner from it too.
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