August 9, 2010
Few studies have established a causal link between oral sex and human papillomavirus-related head and neck cancers, although several recent U.S. and European studies have noted an increase in such cancers. Oral sex is one means by which HPV can be transmitted, note public health officials.
"A third of head and neck cancers we see nowadays are HPV," said Dr. David Brizel, an oncologist at Duke University specializing in head and neck cancers.
Smoking and heavy drinking were typically the biggest risk factors for these cancers, Brizel said. But the latest increases in HPV-related head and neck cancers have occurred as smoking rates declined. "That's worth noting," he said. "A large portion of these are in people who never used tobacco."
News and Observer (Raleigh NC)
07.24.2010; Sarah Avery
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