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Experts Link Oral Cancer to HPV

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According to the American Cancer Society, more than 34,000 people have oral cancer and 39 percent of those cases are related to HPV. "These are patients that are young. They are in their 30s and 40s. They are nonsmokers, and they don't drink alcohol excessively. And every time we look we are able to find HPV-16 in their tissue, in the biopsy specimen," said Dr. Robert Haddad, a Dana Farber Cancer Institute head and neck surgeon. The virus is transmitted by direct contact and only in the location it attaches to, so it never travels through the bloodstream, and experts point to a link between oral sex and oral cancer. And while oral sex isn't necessarily more prevalent than in the past, it is more accepted. In fact, a 2005 study in the "Journal Pediatrics" found that teens think oral sex is less risky to their health than vaginal sex.

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