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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What You Need To Know About Oral Sex And Oral Cancer

What You Need To Know About Oral Sex And Oral Cancer!

It seems like just about everyone I know either has cancer or knows someone who does. Cancer has become an epidemic in America with no end in sight.

Up until now, most people tried to protect themselves from cancer by not smoking, cutting certain foods out of their diets, and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. NOW, we are going to have to alter our sex habits too, in a most profound way.

I think just about everyone under the age of 60 has engaged in one or more forms of oral sex. Most Americans have a liberal view of sex, if both partners agree, anything goes. We know STDs are out there, but we think it can't happen to nice, hetero sexual people like us. Mostly, if you want to have sex with a stranger, a condom will take care of any problems with STDs.

BUT NOW THE BOMB SHELL HAS EXPLODED. ORAL SEX CAN CAUSE ORAL CANCER! Obviously it is mostly men who are becoming afflicted.

If you had more than 5 oral sex partners, you have a 250% greater chance of getting an oral cancer, compared to someone who had no oral sex partners!

Even more shocking,....smoking and drinking only cause a three fold increase in oral cancers. Clearly, cancer from oral sex is much more likely. Hard to believe, but these studies are backed up with evidence of young men with no history of smoking or drinking becoming afflicted with various forms of oral cancer.

And what causes these oral cancers?? The human papilloma virus (HPV), the same virus that causes cervical cancer in women!

Genital HPV infections are extremely common. At any given time one third of all 25 year old women are infected! Of course not all these infection will lead to cancer, but the point is... some will.

When we are seeing such a high rate of cancer we need to do everything we can to halt its progress. Young men who never drank or smoked are now getting cancer of the throat, tongue and tonsil. Oral cancer will kill half these men within 5 years. For those who survive, the aftermath of oral cancer can be devastating. Imagine life with half your tongue removed, and the over all consequences of a battle with cancer.

What can you do to protect yourself? Other than the obvious, ask your dentist for a Brush Test, which looks for abnormal cells. Have your dentist do an exam of your mouth that looks for any abnormal lumps or bumps. The reason so many people are dying from oral cancer is because it is not detected until it is in later stages.

HPV virus can also cause genital warts, and cancer of the penis and anus.

Other hazards of oral sex involve a yeast infection of the tongue known as thrush which is easily treated, but there are other forms of yeast infection contracted through sex which can lead to a yeast infection of the lungs which can be life threatening and difficult to treat.

All and all we will have to reexamine our sexual preferences and habits. HPV can kill you just as easily as AIDS or Hepatitis C.

We all know how it is when you are young and looking for adventure. We feel so great, we think we will live forever. We look at older people, or our parents, and think we could never end up like them. Twenty years later we are older and wiser, and we may have even had some major health problems by the time we are 40. We know that bad things can happen to good people. We realize that if we want to be around another 20 years we are going to have to work at it. Young people are dying everyday from cancer, we cannot afford complacency.

Puritanical ideas about sex died with the 60s, and I think that is a positive thing, although we must be careful. While it is not right for us to impose our morals on others, Christian values may have a place in our lives today. Certainly it would be ideal to fall in love with just one person and stay faithful to that one person. We all know that is not how relationships work.

I think the solution is to be a lot more picky about who you go to bed with. As a nurse, I have even advised my friends to have potential partners tested for STDs. No matter how well you think you know someone, you really don't, especially when emotions and hormones are running at full speed ahead. If they really love you and care about you, they will be happy to comply, and if they are against getting tested, then it might be a good time to move on. Remember, your health is more important than any sex partner you may ever have. After all, sex partners come and go, but you have just one body. If you plan to live into old age, you have to take care of what you have.

We also have a responsibility to others. Only you know how many sexual partners you have been with. Could you really live with yourself if you knew you were responsible for the cancer of another? Go to your doctor and get tested, abstain from sex if there is even a shadow of a doubt you could be passing something on to your partner. Even a simple case of yeast infection in a woman can have life threatening ramifications for her oral sex partners. Is it worth it?

We also need to talk to our children at an early age about sex. Did you know that many teens practice oral sex over all other forms of sex? They could be setting themselves up for some serious health problems which could forever affect their futures. We need to tell our children that sex is a beautiful, sacred act between two people who love each other. It is too precious to give away or throw away or to share with just anyone. It is a very personal and private act between two people who deeply love each other, and should be conveyed as such.

The free love of the 60s has come full circle, and in the end we have found there is no such thing as "free" love. Indeed, sex is anything but free. All of us pay for the sexual relationships we get involved in and sometimes we pay with our health and our lives.

They say the strong survive, but I think it is the smart who survive. I guess time will tell.

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