"Changing sexual practices over the last 20 years, especially as they relate to oral sex, are increasing the rate of head and neck cancers and may be increasing the rates of other cancers as well."
Otis Brawley, MD Chief Medical Officer American Cancer Society
Changing sexual practices have led to a dramatic rise in throat cancer in the United States over the past two decades, and experts say they fear an epidemic of the disease.
Increasing rates of HPV infection, spread through oral sex, is largely driving the rapid rise in oropharyngeal cancers, which include tumors of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue, said Scott Lippman, MD, who chairs the thoracic department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The experts agreed that it is critical for the public to understand that oral sex doesn't equal safe sex.