Oral Sex Expected to Overtake Smoking As Leading Cause of Mouth Cancer
An infographic shared by euroClinix indicates the rise in oral sex as a cause of mouth cancer.
According to the NHS, roughly 6,797 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2011.
The number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer is on the rise and experts suspect that the spread of human papilloma virus (HPV), as a result of oral sex, could play a huge part in this.
HPV, which can be contracted through unprotected sexual activity, affects the skin found in areas of the body that are exposed to moisture, such as the mouth, rectum, cervix and throat. It is estimated that three quarters of sexually active women have acquired HPV.
In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. In some cases, when HPV persists it can lead to genital warts and has been linked to cervical and other cancers.
Symptoms of mouth cancer include ulcers that do not heal, persistent discomfort or pain in the mouth, white or red patches in the mouth or throat, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the neck, unexplained weight loss and bad breath.
To prevent the spread of HPV, experts say to use a condom during oral sex.
Additionally, a latex square known as a dam can be placed over a woman's genitals to protect against infection.