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Oral sex may cause throat cancer

health and fitness Updated: May 10, 2007 18:51 IST

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People who indulge in oral sex face the risk of developing throat cancer, says a new study.

Maura Gillison at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and colleagues collected blood and saliva samples from the throats of 100 patients diagnosed with cancers of the tonsils or back of the throat.

The scientists also took samples from 200 healthy people for comparison. All of the study participants provided information about their sexual history, including the number of people with whom they had engaged in oral sex, reported the online edition of New Scientist.

People who have had more than five oral-sex partners in their lifetime are 250 percent more likely to have throat cancer than those who do not have oral sex, the study suggests. Smoking or drinking increases the risk of such cancer by about threefold, the researchers said.

Tonsil and throat cancers affect about two in every 100,000 adults in the US. The study has appeared in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.