Oral sex has been linked to throat cancer in baby boomers, but a rising number of cancers of the head and neck in young men is leading doctors to urge boys as well as girls to get the controversial HPV vaccine. “This kind of cancer traditionally affects males who have been smoking and drinking all their life,” says one doctor, but now “HPV cancer we are seeing in younger patients who have never smoked.”
A push for boys to get the HPV vaccine was met with resistance last year. But with the number of HPV-related oral cancers rising—more than 50% today, from 20% two decades ago—more doctors are joining the call. Right now women are more likely to develop cervical cancer from HPV, and account for just 15% of throat cancer cases, but doctors say that as time goes on that number could increase, ABC News reports. HPV has also been linked to lung cancer—click here for more on that.