Human Exceptionalism

Promiscuity Can Cause Cancer

This blog isn’t about sexual mores.  But sex is relevant from time to time in issues dealing with bioethics, the coup de culture, and AIDS prevention.  For example, when two US Senators suggested that smokers and the obese people pay 50% higher premiums under Obamacare because they lead unhealthy lifestyles, I noted that promiscuous people should then be similarly punished as a licentious lifestyle can also lead to serious illness–and often much more quickly. Ditto, when the LA Times editorialized in favor of a “fat tax.”  I have  also written that since HIV shows no decline in transmission in the USA, people should be encouraged to be mutually monogamous. 

Some objected, saying that smoking causes cancer.  Well so can sex–particularly if one has numerous partners thereby increasing the potential of coming into contact with an infectious person with the HPV virus, which is spread through sexual activity.  And now, the SF Chronicle is reporting that HPV is quickly becoming a leading cause of throat and oral cancers–in men. From the story (Link won’t work until Tues. AM):

When most people think of throat or oral cancers, they probably believe they are not at risk unless they are smokers or heavy drinkers. But that’s not necessarily the case. According to Bay Area doctors and a new national study, the incidence of tobacco- and alcohol- related throat cancers is down. On the rise is another type of throat cancer for which more Americans may be at risk — one associated with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus commonly known for causing cervical cancer in women. Dr. Michael Kaplan, chief of head and neck surgery at Stanford University Medical Center, said he sees about 125 new cases of oral and throat cancer each year, and “the vast majority” are cases associated with HPV. Perhaps more surprising, this type of cancer is much more common in men than in women.

What’s more, HPV causes more cancer now than smoking:

Kaplan’s experience correlates with a National Cancer Institute study released in June at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual scientific meeting. In it, researchers found that throat and oral cancers linked to HPV increased more than 200 percent between 1988 and 2004 — from 0.8 occurrences per 100,000 people to 2.8 per 100,000. In the same time period, throat and oral cancers related to tobacco and alcohol use were down 50 percent, from 2 to 1 case per 100,000 people.

Obviously, people can choose to be vaccinated against HPV.  But they can also be more responsible in the way they live their lives. Promiscuity can be dangerous to our health.

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