Can Oral Sex Increase Your Risk For Cancer?

The following material contains mature subject matter and may not be suitable for young audiences.

Does engaging in oral sex lead to a higher chance of getting cancer? The Doctors investigate a new shocking claim.

According to a study published in the journal JAMA Oncology, the practice of oral sex raises the risk of head and neck cancer by 22 times.

The link between oral sex and cancer is due to human papillomavirus (HPV), which ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says accounts 70 percent of head and neck cancer cases.

Watch: Can You Catch a Cold "Down There?"

HPV can be transmitted through oral sex, which in some cases can lead to cancer developing. Historically, the majority of head and neck cancers were linked to smoking and drinking, but now the majority of cases are due to HPV.

Family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross says this is something to take quite seriously and discuss openly, as there are approximately 48,000 cases of head and neck cancer yearly and 10,000 deaths.

The Doctors stress that not every person who engages in oral sex will contract HPV, and not every case of HPV leads to cancer, but for some it does.

Watch: The Doctors Debate the HPV Vaccine

For more information on HPV, including prevention, treatment and the HPV vaccine, please visit the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention HPV resource page.

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