One third of people who get throat cancer are infected with the HPV virus, a study suggests.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the major cause of cervical cancer, and the virus is known to spread through genital or oral contact. Actor Michael Douglas spoke about the link after his own diagnosis with throat cancer.
Experts tell the BBC that a study in Journal of Clinical Oncology that confirms the link is "striking."
Researchers compared blood test results for 135 people who went on to develop throat cancer and for 1,599 cancer-free people, according to the BBC.
The University of Oxford team found 35 percent of those with throat cancer had the antibodies, compared with fewer than 1 percent of those who were cancer-free.
However, these patients were more likely to survive throat cancer than people whose disease had other causes, such as alcohol or tobacco use.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of health information, told the BBC: "HPV is an extremely common virus.Practicing safer sex may reduce the risk of getting or passing on HPV, but condoms won't stop infections completely."
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She added: "If the HPV vaccine can also protect against oral HPV infections and cancers, then it could have a broader potential protective effect, but we don't have enough research yet to tell us. "
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