Having more sex reduces chance of oral cancer for women

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Women who have sex with with lots of partners are less likely to get cancer of the mouth and throat. Unfortunately, the same sexual behaviour is dangerous for men — the more oral sexual partners they have the more chances they develop throat, neck, head and other cancers.

These cancers are linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common infection transmitted through sexual contact. Researchers released this information at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

They also found that middle aged white men are at particularly high risk compared to other races. Dr Gypsyamber D’Souza, the associate professor at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explained the findings:

“Performing oral sex is very common among men and women but there are stark differences in oral HPV infection and the rate of cancer. Comparing men and women with the same number of sex partners, a man is much more likely to get infected with oral HPV than a woman.

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Women that had a lot of previous sexual partners were actually less likely to get infected with an oral HPV infection. They may mount a more robust immune response and be less likely to become infected. It seems that for men this immune response is likely smaller.

Men are not only more likely to become infected, but our research also shows that once infected they are less likely to clear these infections than women, further contributing for the cancer risk.”

To put it simply, those women who have a greater number of vaginal sex partners mount an immune response to vaginal HPV virus, thus preventing the body from catching an oral HPV that could trigger various types of cancer.

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