The pleasure of oral sex can come with a heavy price tag, according to Dr. Hisham Mehanna. The professor at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences says that oropharyngeal cancer is on the rise and attributes it to the human papillomavirus (HPV). The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that HPV is growing fastest among men ages 30-55.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. and can spread through oral sex. "Those with six or more lifetime oral-sex partners are 8.5 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer than those who do not practice oral sex," said Dr. Mehanna in an article written for The Conversation.
Mehanna says younger adults are choosing oral over penetration. He also points out that the disease can become increasingly more likely with those who smoke and drink.
There is an HPV vaccine that can be taken to combat the disease but it's estimated that only 54 percent of people have received it in the U.S.