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

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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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