Saturday 19 August 2017

'Jury is out' on theory of sex link to cancer

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

ACTOR Michael Douglas has been praised for speaking about his throat cancer – but the "jury is out" on his theory it may have been caused by oral sex.

Dr Denise McCarthy, a Dublin Dental Hospital specialist, was commenting on the star's controversial remarks that his disease could have been due to oral sex when he may have picked up the HPV virus.

"There is a huge amount of research going on in this area at the moment but the jury is still out on it to a certain degree. The HPV virus is definitely there, but the link has not yet been made absolutely and categorically," she said.

"Oncologists have found people whose tumour is infected with the HPV virus respond well to radiation treatment."

She was speaking at the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day, which takes place next Wednesday when dentists countrywide will offer free exams.

Smoking and drinking – particularly spirits – are the main risk factors for mouth cancer. "Both together increase the risk even further," Dr McCarthy said.

The names of participating dentists are available at www.mouthcancerawareness.ie.

Irish Independent

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