By Amanda Garnder, usatoday.com, Jan 29, 2011:
There's a worrisome uptick in the incidence of certain head and neck cancers among middle-aged and even younger Americans, and some experts link the trend to a rise in the popularity of oral sex over the past few decades.
That's because the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major trigger for these cancers, and HPV can be transmitted through this type of sexual activity.
"It seems like a pretty good link that more sexual activity, particularly oral sex, is associated with increased HPV infection," said Dr. Greg Hartig, professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.
According to Dr. William Lydiatt, professor and chief of head and neck surgical oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, the overall incidence of head and neck cancers is going down, largely because fewer people are smoking (tobacco and drinking are the major traditional risk factors).
But the incidence of cancers of the tonsil and base of the tongue have been going up over the past decades, he said. And those are the ones that are more likely to test positive for HPV. Read more>>