FRANCOIS VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
According to new research conducted by Prof. Andre van Zyl of the university’sSchoolofDentistry, if you’ve had six or more oral sex partners in your life, you’re ten times more likely to get oro-pharyngeal cancer. Van Zyl and the South African Dental Association recently warned of the health risks of oral sex and were concerned about the increase in oral cancer.
According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, the main causes of oral cancer are smoking, heavy consumption of alcohol and a poor diet. Another cause of the disease is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be sexually transmitted.
This type of cancer starts in the mouth in the form of an ulcer that bleeds easily and does not heal. It then spreads to the neck, tongue and tonsils if left untreated.
Maretha Smit, the CEO of the South African Dental Association, says that the organisation has launched an educational campaign, to combat “the alarming increase” in cases of oro-pharyngeal cancer. In addition to promoting awareness of the risks involved in oral sex, the campaign will also draw attention to the risks of smoking hubbly, another cause of the disease. However, the South African Dental Association believes that drinking coffee can lower the risk of oral cancer. Coffee contains antioxidants, an important compound that can help protect your body from disease. In fact, a growing body of research suggests that coffee may also prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Prof. Van Zyl says that oro-pharyngeal cancer can be cured with four to six weeks of chemotherapy, but only if the cancer is detected at an early stage. The South African Dental Association recommends an HPV vaccine, for both men and women, to prevent oro-pharyngeal cancer.