According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, research by Dr. Maura Gillison found risk factors for HPV-associated head and neck cancer include certain sexual behaviors and smoking marijuana.
The sex behaviors associated with HPV-positive cancers include increasing numbers of lifetime vaginal or oral sex partners, participating in casual sex at least once, infrequent use of barriers during vaginal or oral sex, and having had at least one sexually transmitted disease. Regarding marijuana use, research has noted that people who smoked marijuana for at least five years were 11 times more likely to develop HPV-positive cancers.
However, a 2010 study reports that marijuana use does not seem to be associated with HPV cervical cancer.
Dr. Sara Pai at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ranked #1 in the U.S.) says persistent HPV infection may also be a problem with the immune system’s inability to recognize and fight the virus. She and a team of researchers are actively studying the role of the immune system and HPV.
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