Oropharyngeal cancer refers to conditions where abnormal cells grow in the tissue of the part of the throat including the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the soft palate, and the walls of the pharynx.
Brandon Prendes, an American surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic, disclosed that unsuspecting individuals risk this type of cancer by having oral sex with partners who suffer the human papillomavirus (HPV) due to the link between both diseases.
Cleveland Clinic quoted the head and neck surgeon to have said that, though oral cancers have long been linked to smoking, current research showed that HPV is directly related to some throat cancers.
According to him, the number of patients suffering the disease may soon outpace cervical cancer cases.
While explaining that having multiple oral sex partners is the “number one” risk factor for contracting HPV-related throat cancer, Prendes added that smoking raises the risk of developing the condition and also decreases response to treatment.
“I don’t think anyone in our field or any epidemiologist would argue the link between HPV and throat cancer at this point. It’s a strong link,” he said.
Although oral cancers have long been linked to smoking, data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that there are 18,000 new cases of throat cancer diagnosed annually that are potentially related to HPV.
HPV oral cancers are marked by symptoms like neck mass or swelling, ear pain, painful swallowing, snoring, difficulty eating, vocal changes, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, unexplained weight loss, among others.
The disease, Prendes added, spreads quickly for unknown reasons but could take up to 30 years for the cancer to appear in individuals who have contracted it.