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Don't be quick to blame the whiskey and smokes for throat cancer, HPV may be the new culprit

Oncologist Maura Gillison at Ohio State University and researchers from the National Cancer Institute estimate that 4,000 people, 75% of them men, develop a new form of tonsil cancer each year caused by the human papillomavirus.

"The old cigarettes-and-alcohol form of the disease is being eclipsed by a new form, caused by the same human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer. The tumors grow in the tonsils or in the tissue that remains after a tonsillectomy. The only good news is that the prognosis for these patients is better than that for the old disease."

Gillison is now working with Merck on a study to see if Gardasil can help prevent HPV infection in the throat.

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