Article : Pleasure Needs Safety: Oral Sex- A Missing Link To Oral Cancer


Pleasure Needs Safety: Oral Sex- A Missing Link To Oral Cancer


Dr. Harkanwal Preet Singh, Dr. Amit Nayar, Dr. Sandeep Kumar Bains, Dr. Aman Sharma

This article has attempted to summarize the events to persuade a world wide open dialogue and provide a fourth dimension about potential risks for oral cancer beyond tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as such malignancies have high mortality and morbidity, but are yet preventable diseases.

Association of oral cancer to sexual practice is a controversial and contentious topic. There are limited epidemiologic and experimental studies regarding it which can provide conclusive evidence. It has been observed in recent time that peak of oral cancer is shifting from older to younger generation as several other parameters such as unprotected oral sex and viruses are playing an active role in its etiology. Several studies have been conducted in present time to evaluate the association between Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and oral cancer risk. Since HPV16 is the most predominant strain in anogenital Carcinomas, its transmission to the oropharyngeal region can occur through the mouth, especially during oral sex in sexually active individuals. In a study among males Maden et al2 found sixfold and threefold associations between oral cancer and detection of HPV type 16 DNA and HPV type 6 DNA, respectively, in exfoliated oral tissue. Role of Human Papilloma virus in causing cervical cancer is well established but its role in oral cancer is of recent interest.
Schwartz SM et al analyzed whether sexual transmission of HPV types commonly found in the genital tract is important in the development of oral cancer. They concluded that early age at first intercourse, multiple sexual partners, and a history of genital warts were associated with oral cancer risk, but only among men.

Such assertive supposition, however, does not exist without controversy among both scientific and lay communities. So we conclude by re-emphasizing Sir, Brondani’s statement that ‘To diagnose oral cancer our enquiries should not be restricted just to tobacco, dietary history, and oral hygiene practices but should also focus on oral sexual practices and all of the potential pathogens associated with it.’

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