Can oral sex give you cancer

Some many types of cancer are joining to human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in the mouth and throat. It's likely that some types of HPV are spread orally by sex.

Cancers of mouth and throat by oral sex they are sometimes called head and neck cancers, and include cancers of the:

  • mouth
  • lip
  • tongue
  • voice box (larynx)

How does HPV cause cancer?

HPV doesn't directly give and spread to you cancer, but it causes changes in the cells of bodt it's infected (for example, in the throat or cervix) and these cells can then become cancerous cell that called cancer.

If cell changes do happen, it can to take a long time even decades.

Very few people in world infected with HPV will develop cancer. In 9 out of 10 cases, the infection is cleared naturally by the body within 2 years.

But who people smoke are much less likely to clear the virus from their body. This is because of smoking damages the special protective cells in the skin, allowing the type of virus to persist.

What causes cancer in the mouth and throat?

The main risk factors for mouth cancer and throat cancer are drinking of alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco.

But there's growing testimony that an increasing proportion of cancer is caused by HPV infection in the mouth.

Around 1 in 4 mouth cancers in the worl and 1 in 3 throat cancers are HPV-related, but in younger patients most throat cancers are now HPV-related.

To Finding the HPV virus in a sample of people who have oral cancer doesn't mean that HPV caused the cancer.

How common is HPV in the mouth?

We don't know sure of oral cancer. But a study carried out in 2009-2010 concluded that 1 in 10 American men and less than 4 in 100 American women had HPV infec0tion in the mouth.

Another study published in 2017 found that in America, 6 in 100 men and 1 in 100 women carried potentially cancer causing verious types of HPV in their mouth.

This was more in smokers and in men with more oral sex partners.

The study of medical team didn't link a specific number of partners with risk of carrying HPV in the mouth, or of cancer.

This study of medical team is also looked at how common mouth cancer and throat cancers were in people carrying these harmful types of HPV, and found it's still very rare: around 7 in 1,000 men and 2 in 1,000 women.

Safer oral sex

You can make oral sex and want to be safer by using a condom on a man's penis – it acts as a barrier between the mouth and the penis.

A dam (a square of very thin, soft plastic) across the world a woman's genitals can protect against infection.


This study of medical team uses a large amount of national data to give us an idea about which number of people have the greatest risk of carrying out of potentially cancer-causing oral HPV.

But over the world wide oral HPV may increase people's risk of mouth and throat cancers, the actual number who would go on to develop cancer is extremely small.

It is always to sensible to practise safe sex to reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection. If you are related about getting HPV or any other type of STIs through oral sex, use a condom or dental dam.

A vaccine against some power of HPV is offered to girls aged 12 to 13 as part of the NHS routine vaccination schedule.