According to a recent story, appearing on MensHealth.com, “Giving oral sex could lead to lung cancer—if you skip the HPV vaccination.” Researchers with the International Agency for Research on Cancer compared the HPV antibodies of lung cancer patients to those of cancer-free patients. The findings: Having HPV was associated with more than a 30 percent increased risk for lung cancer.
Experts already know that HPV can cause mutations that lead to cancer in sites that have direct contact with the virus, such as the cervix or the throat via oral sex. But how would it reach the lungs? It’s not like people are smoking cigarettes laced with HPV, right?
“It has been suggested that HPV in the mouth could enter the lungs through mucus and lead to respiratory infection and possibly cancer,” explains Anantharaman Devasena, Ph.D., researcher with the IARC and author of the study. Though it’s known that HPV can reach the lungs, further research is needed to determine if the virus can actually cause lung cancer.
Whether or not future research verifies this link, you probably want to avoid the virus regardless, since it can cause genital warts. Lucky for you, the HPV vaccine reduces the risk of warts by 90 percent and is recommended for guys between ages 9 and 26.
By Kiera Aaron