Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rare Throat Cancer Linked to Oral Sex

From "Rare throat cancer linked to oral sex" by Carol Nader, posted 5/11/07 at www.theage.com

A RARE cancer in the back of the throat is "strongly associated" with a virus transmitted during oral sex, US researchers believe.

A study of 100 women diagnosed with cancers at the back of the throat, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has linked human papillomavirus (HPV) with throat cancer. It concluded oral HPV infection was associated with oropharyngeal cancer among people with or without the other risk factors of tobacco and alcohol use.

Infection with sexually transmitted HPV is a cause of virtually all cervical cancers.

The researchers from Johns Hopkins University also found a high lifetime number of oral sex or vaginal sex partners, engagement in casual sex, early age at first sexual encounter and infrequent use of condoms were associated with a strain of HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer. They conclude that the "widespread oral sexual practices among adolescents" may have contributed to a rise of this type of cancer in the US, and provide a rationale for HPV vaccination in both boys and girls.

Cancer Council Australia chief executive Ian Olver said there was a known association between throat cancer and HPV. But he said it remained rare and there was no evidence of it rising.

"Everyone that gets infected by HPV won't go on to get throat cancer," he said. The findings did not mean people should change their behaviour. "It would be like saying stop having sex or you'll get cancer of the cervix. That doesn't apply."

That is a silly statement. No one is advocating abolishing sex. However, it is quite clear that sexual morality PROTECTS people from these terrible diseases.

If we truly care about people, we as a society should encourage adults and teens alike to wait until they are married to have sex. Don't buy the argument that 'they're going to do it anyway.' Society exerts a tremendous influence over people's sexual behavior. When the societal expectation was chastity until marriage, most people waited. In the 1940's most men were virgins when they married. The 1940's had its own problems, but epidemic levels of deadly STDs wasn't one of them.

There are always people who will fall short of societal expectations. This doesn't mean the expectation is wrong or should be changed.

'Lowering the bar' has lowered most everyone's behavior. This is no favor even to those who always fall short. They still fall short -- this time short of a much lower standard...