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Oral Sex & Throat Cancer Rising Rates of Public Health Concerns

Oral Sex a Greater Throat Cancer Risk Than Smoking Doctor Claims

A young doctor, Dr. Daria Sadovskaya, has stirred controversy by asserting that oral sex poses a higher risk for throat cancer development than smoking.

Dr. Sadovskaya made this bold statement in a viral TikTok video, despite the American Cancer Society ranking tobacco use as the primary risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer.


In response to a query from a TikTok user asking if oral sex is proven to be the leading cause of throat cancer, Dr. Sadovskaya responded with a straightforward video declaration: “I said what I said.”

The American Cancer Society acknowledges that oral sex can be a potential cause of throat cancer due to the transmission of the human papillomavirus (HPV) during such activities. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection, with an estimated 13 million new cases reported in the United States each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost all sexually active men and women will contract the virus at some point in their lives. Although HPV typically clears on its own within two years, many individuals remain unaware of their infection, which can lead to the inadvertent spread of the disease.

Dr. Sadovskaya pointed out that men are more likely to develop throat cancer from performing oral sex on women, as women are more likely to carry the HPV virus in their genital area. In fact, HPV-linked oropharyngeal cancer diagnoses in men increased by 2.8% annually from 2015 to 2019, according to the ACS. Rates also rose by 1.3% among women.

Despite the potential risks highlighted by experts, some individuals may not be willing to give up oral sex. Actor Michael Douglas made headlines in 2013 when he asserted that oral sex was the cause of throat cancer due to HPV transmission.

In 2021, research revealed that people with ten or more oral sex partners were over four times more likely to develop HPV-related mouth and throat cancers. According to data from the CDC, 41% of teenagers aged 15 to 19 engage in oral sex. In 2018, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for nearly half of the 26 million new sexually transmitted disease (STD) infections.

There is hope that the HPV vaccine could help reduce the rate of throat cancer in the future. While the current HPV vaccine primarily aims to prevent reproductive cancers, it also offers protection against the strains of the virus responsible for oropharyngeal cancer, according to the CDC.


In the United States, guidance suggests that 11- and 12-year-olds should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine, but individuals between the ages of 9 and 26 are eligible to receive it. However, as of 2020, only about 54% of adolescents had received the vaccine.

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Dr. Eric Adjei Boakye highlighted the lack of knowledge surrounding HPV in a report for the American Association for Cancer Research earlier this year. He noted that over 90% of HPV-associated cancers could be prevented with the HPV vaccination, yet vaccine uptake remains suboptimal.


In a viral TikTok video, Dr. Daria Sadovskaya claimed that oral sex poses a higher risk for throat cancer than smoking, challenging conventional wisdom. The American Cancer Society acknowledges that oral sex may contribute to throat cancer due to HPV transmission. HPV, a prevalent sexually transmitted infection, is often asymptomatic and can be inadvertently spread. Dr. Sadovskaya noted that men who perform oral sex on women are at higher risk, with diagnoses rising annually. Despite these risks, some remain undeterred. Actor Michael Douglas previously linked oral sex to throat cancer, supported by research findings. The hope lies in the HPV vaccine to mitigate future throat cancer rates

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