BY Azuka onye, 12:00am October 06, 2011,

HPV Linked to Throat Cancer

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a double-stranded, circular DNA virus that has been sucessfully linked to cervical cancer. Recent studies have shown that this virus may also be responsible for the increase in the number of both men and women diagnosed with throat cancer. In fact, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, HPV topped the list of risks associated with developing both oral and throat cancer.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that is commonly found in men and women. In women the virus can cause genital warts and/or cervical cancer. That is why it is important for them to get annual pap smears.

In the research study published in the NEJM, those participants who reported having oral sex with six or more partners were three times more likely to develop throat cancer compared to those who have never had oral sex.

Dr. Maura L. Gillison and her colleagues at Johns Hopkins University were the first to discover the HPV Linked to Throat Cancerlink between HPV and throat cancer in 2000. According to Gillison, “The number of oropharyngeal cancers caused by HPV is probably larger than the number caused by smoking and alcohol, at least in the U.S.”

There are a number of different strains of HPV, some cause warts and may lead to cancer while others may be associated with no symptoms at all. Researchers have found that a majority of the throat cancers associated with HPV contained the HPV 16 strain. This is also one of two strains associated with a majority of cervical cancers. It is important to note that they did not find that smoking or alcohol added to the participant’s risks.

Health officials and researchers are unsure if the HPV vaccine, Gardisil, which prevents cervical cancer will also protect against other cancers associated with HPV, including throat cancer.
It is important that people, especially young people, are aware of the risks associated with oral sex. Throat cancer should no longer be viewed as just a smoking or alcohol related disease.


Photo Credit:

Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates