First it was Angelina Jolie getting top media billing with her revelation that she had double mastectomy because she tested positive for BRCA gene and was at great risk for developing breast cancer. Now Michael Douglas raised eyebrows when he cited oral sex as the cause of his throat cancer. We do know that Mr. Douglas has a history of smoking, which is known risk factor for developing throat cancer.
The tonsil and base of tongue area are areas of concern for cancer caused by a strain of HPV, or human papillomavirus. This virus can be transmitted through oral sex. However, it doesn’t mean that everyone who engages in oral sex is going to get this type of cancer. It’s actually a small percentage of people who contract the virus and don’t have an immune system that can kill the virus.
HPV does cause many cases of cervical cancer in women and is also associated with penile, anal and vaginal cancers.
Help is available to prevent these infections with a vaccine.
The three series vaccination is most effective in people up to the age of 26. It is best to have young boys and girls vaccinated before they have become sexually active. But the most important thing you can do is to be careful. The same way you would act to avoid contracting HIV. The more promiscuous you are, and the more partners you have, the more at risk you are. Use common sense and don’t take sexual risks.