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Men who Perform Oral Sex have a Higher Risk of Cancer from HPV, Study Says

Update Date: Feb 15, 2016 09:26 AM EST

Men who perform oral sex have a higher risk of developing head and neck cancers from the human papillomavirus (HPV), a new study is reporting.

For this study, lead researcher Gypsyamber D'Souza of Johns Hopkins University, reported that men who had more oral sex partners had doubled the risk of developing HPV-related cancers. D'Souza added that the risk was the highest among middle-aged, white men.

Women who had more oral sex partners, however, did not have an increased risk like men did.

"Our research shows that for men, the number of oral sex partners - as that number increases, the risk of an oral HPV infection increases," he said, via The Daily Mail. "Comparing men and women with the same number of sexual partners, a man is much more likely to become infected with oral HPV than a woman."

The researchers also reported that women who had more vaginal oral sex partners appeared to have a reduced risk of getting head and throat cancers. D'Souza argued that women might be better protected from these HPV-related cancers because their bodies have a stronger immune response against the virus.

"Men are not only more likely to be infected with oral HPV infection than women, but our research shows that once you become infected, men are less likely to clear this infection than women, further contributing for the cancer risk," D'Souza said.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. The severity of the infection depends on the strain of the virus. In many cases, an infection will clear up on its own within a year or two. Other strains, however, can lead to cervical cancer in women, genital warts, and head and throat cancers.

The study's findings were presented at the American Association for Advancement of Science's (AAAS) yearly meting on Feb. 12.

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