More throat cancer from oral sex

Doctors have noticed a marked increase in the incidence of throat cancer that is often caused by the HPV virus. This is a virus that is often passed on during oral sex.

Oral sex is the cause of a third of the cases of cancer of the throat. Each year the number of patients being treated as a result of such an infection rises by around 100.

Carl Van Laer, a surgeon at Antwerp University Hospital: "We are seeing more and more thirty and forty-somethings."

The HPV virus can cause cervical cancer in women and is claiming more and more male victims. In the Netherlands the number of people diagnosed with throat cancer caused by oral sex has increased six-fold in two decades. A similar rise is being recorded here and the summit has not yet been reached.

Sandra Van den Eynde: "There are good ways of protecting yourself against HPV. You can get a jab. That's because HPV also occurs in places that you cannot protect with a condom."

Since 2010 teenage girls in Flanders have been offered the HPV vaccine free of charge. The vaccination should occur before you become sexually active. We want boys to get the jab too."

It is easier to treat throat cancer caused by HPV than forms that start as a result of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.