Oral Sex Not Risk Factor for Oral Cancer

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Oral sex is not an independent risk factor for oral cancer.
Oral sex is not an independent risk factor for oral cancer.

Oral sex is not an independent risk factor for oral cancer, according to a meta-analysis published online in the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine.

Noting that many published epidemiological studies have failed to obtain a consistent conclusion, Sheng Li, M.D., from the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in China, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis to examine the correlation between oral sex and oral cancer. Data were included from six case-control studies and one cross-sectional study, involving 5,553 individuals.

Based on a random-effects model, the researchers found that there was no significant correlation between oral sex and oral cancer risk (odds ratio, 1.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.54; P = 0.33).

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In sensitivity analysis, the results were robust, and similar results were seen in subgroup analysis. There was no evidence of publication bias.

"Current evidence suggests that oral sex is a risk marker rather than an independent risk factor for oral cancer," the authors write.


  1. Li, Sheng, et al. "Oral sex and risk of oral cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies." Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine. doi: 10.1111/jebm.12159. June 2015.

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