Sex, cancer

Posted by watchmen
January 16, 2020
Posted in OPINION

You have to give it to the New York Post to start an article with: “Well, this sucks.”

The story is about mouth cancer rates at record high. And the raunchy newspaper had to ask: “Is oral sex to blame?”

It’s a good question though.

The tabloid quotes Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Oral Cancer Foundation, saying that “while most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate.”

Dr. Carter calls mouth cancer a “devastating” disease. “It changes how somebody speaks, and it makes eating and drinking more difficult and often changes a person’s physical appearances.”

The nonprofit Oral Health Foundation, in a new awareness campaign, says that mouth cancer diagnoses have more than doubled in a generation. In 2018 alone, seven people died every day from the disease out of a total 8,337 patients in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The New York Post says the rates are comparable in the United States, citing figures from the Oral Cancer Foundation.

About 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer (including the larynx) every year. At least one oral cancer patient dies per hour per day – or about 13,500 deaths a year.

In both countries, oral cancer is caused primarily by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted. Other major causes are drinking alcohol and smoking.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, more than 10 alcoholic drinks per week causes 33 percent of oral cancer diagnosed; smoking increases the risk of individuals by 91 percent.

HPV is considered an “emerging risk factor” compared to “traditional” causes like smoking and alcohol consumption, Dr. Carter told the Daily Mail, a London newspaper.

In the UK, HPV causes about three in four cases of oropharyngeal mouth cancers.

The Daily Mail article lists the symptoms: mouth or oral cancer involves tumor developing in the lining of the mouth, lips or gums, the roof of the mouth, the surface of the tongue, the insides of the cheeks and the tonsils. Although rare, tumor can also develop in the saliva glands and the pharynx which connects the mouth to the windpipe.

Symptoms include sore mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks; unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don’t go away; unexplained, persistent lumps in the neck that don’t go away; unexplained looseness of teeth, or sockets that don’t heal after extractions;

Unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue; sometimes, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue; and changes in speech, such as a lisp./WDJ



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