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Throat cancer from HPV proves treatable

Study also suggests that low incidence of HPV-positive throat cancers in blacks may explain poor survival rates

Cancer of the throat that stems from a human papillomavirus infection responds to treatment better than throat cancer that’s triggered by other causes, researchers report online July 29 in Cancer Prevention Research.

The scientists also find that blacks are less likely than whites to have throat cancer that’s attributable to HPV, which may explain why the cancer also proved more deadly in blacks in this study.

Throat cancer, formally known as oropharyngeal cancer, includes malignancies at the base of the tongue, on the tonsils, in the back of the mouth or on the walls of the throat. The cancer has been linked to smoking and alcohol use, but it can also arise from HPV infections acquired via oral sex (SN: 5/12/07, p. 291).

In the new study, researchers analyzed two sets of people with throat cancer.

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