Definite Link Between Oral Sex, Tobacco and Cancer
As if you needed another reason to quit smoking. . .
Now there's definitive proof it's linked to oral cancer.
According to newswise.com, researchers have found a link between tobacco and the virus that causes this kind of cancer.
Johns Hopkins scientists have shown a strong association between tobacco use or exposure and infection with oral human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16), the sexually transmitted virus responsible for mouth and throat cancers worldwide. The numbers of such cancers have increased 225 percent in the United States over the past two decades.
HPV16 is found in 80 percent of cancers located in the back of the throat and is transmitted through oral sex. Remember Michael Douglas?
“The practice of oral sex is common, but this cancer is rare. So there must be cofactors in the process that explain why some people develop persistent HPV16 infections and HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers when most other people don’t,” says Gypsyamber D’Souza, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
The research team found that HPV16 infection is more common among people who have recently used or been exposed to tobacco, independent of their sexual behavior, according to authors of the new study published in the Oct. 7 issue of JAMA.
“It appears that tobacco exposure increases the likelihood of having oral HPV16 infection, and although we do not yet know why, we suspect that the virus may not be cleared from the body as easily in people who use tobacco,” says D’Souza.
But the researchers caution that although the study shows an independent relationship between tobacco and HPV16 infection, they cannot fully rule out the possibility that people who use more tobacco might also have more oral sex, and therefore have a higher risk of HPV16 infection.
So, quit smoking. Or. . . You decide.