An alarming new study found men who have performed oral sex on five or more partners are at risk of head and neck cancer related to HPV, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
Johns Hopkins researchers warn men may not be aware of this risk, particularly if they smoke. “Among men who did not smoke, cancer-causing oral HPV was rare among everyone who had less than five oral sex partners, although the chances of having oral HPV infection did increase with number of oral sexual partners, and with smoking,” lead author Dr Amber D’Souza, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told the Daily Mail.
For the study, data was analysed of 13,089 people part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and tested for oral HPV. That information was compared to data with federal figures on oropharyngeal cancer diagnoses. The results indicated that men had a higher risk of developing the disease compared to women.
The new study’s findings suggest it is crucial for boys to get the HPV vaccine.
While there are 100 different kinds of HPV, only few cause cancer. HPV strains 16 and 18 trigger most cervical cancer. HPV16 also causes oropharyngeal cancer.
Identifying who is at risk is will help curb the disease. “For these reasons, it would be useful to be able to identify healthy people who are most at risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer in order to inform potential screening strategies, if effective screening tests could be developed,” Dr D’Souza told the Daily Mail.
Further research to explore oral HPV infection in young healthy men is currently being conducted.
The study was originally published in the journal Annals of Oncology.