HPV vaccines are not just for women: Throat, mouth cancer rates rising for men

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Earlier this year, the biotech community mourned the loss of Michael Becker, a former pharmaceutical industry executive.

Becker’s cancer was caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV. On [September 10], researchers published new data that show how preventable his case was if only he’d had a chance to have the vaccine, Gardasil. The data also underline one of the very lessons he tried to drive home: A vaccine that is still largely seen as one for girls and women needs to be offered to boys and maybe men, too.

HPV gives 34,800 Americans cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 20,700 are women and 14,100 are men. In men, the most common HPV-caused cancer is the one Becker had: cancer of the mouth and throat.

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Despite the fact that thousands of men get cancer because of HPV, the message doesn’t seem to sink in. That frustrates Dr. Maura Gillison, an MD Anderson oncologist who was among the first to notice an emerging epidemic of HPV throat cancers two decades ago.

“It’s still in the public perception that HPV is largely a problem for women,” Gillison told STAT.

Read full, original post: New evidence shows why the HPV vaccine is as important for boys as girls

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