So ... When's the last time you were tested for HPV?
It may seem like a silly question. Especially to those of us who are tested regularly for every STI under the sun. But it's looking like the human papillomavirus is linked to more than just penile, anal and vaginal cancers.
Dr. William Lydiatt, chief of head and neck surgical oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says occurrences of head and neck cancers caused by smoking or drinking are going down, while tonsil and tongue cancers are becoming more prevalent.
"It's gotten to the point now where 60 to 70 percent of all tonsil cancers in the U.S. are HPV-related," Dr. Lydiatt told Healthday.
All the headlines on this study say something to the effect of “Oral Sex Related to Head and Neck Cancer,” but from where we sit, that's just not true. Just like getting cancer from having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HPV, the cause is HPV, and not the sex itself. Tongue and tonsil cancers remain relatively rare in the United States. The other good news is that there is a relatively new vaccine to prevent HPV infection.
So, get tested. Get treated. And wrap it up, whatever “it” is. But don't stop having sex! Oral, or otherwise.