Can You Really Get Cancer From Oral Sex?

Michael Douglas goes down...

Can you get cancer from going down on a woman? The short (and scary) answer: Yes.

Turns out, Michael Douglas was right when he said his throat cancer was caused by cunnilingus. “Not only can HPV (human papillomavirus) cause cervical, anal, labial, and penile cancer, but recent laboratory methods have identified HPV as causing oral and throat cancers as well,” explains Jeffrey Klausner, MD, Professor of Medicine at UCLA.

Since you’re probably already pissing yourself with fear, how about we terrify you even more: HPV can be spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, as well as hand-to-genital contact — that’s right, HPV even puts a damper on handys — and it’s largely asymptomatic. Plus, it’s the most common STD/STI out there; about half of all sexually active men and women contract it at some point in their lives.

The semi-good news is that there is a vaccine, which gynecologists recommend for all women under 26 years old. Men can benefit from the vaccine as well, though unfortunately doctors don’t believe it’s effective after the age of 26. Now for some more bad news: “Alcohol and smoking might also be co-factors in the progression of HPV to cancer, so not smoking and reducing alcohol intake my help,” Klausner explains.

Why is everything fun bad for you?