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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