Researchers have found their first evidence that the HPV vaccine also helps prevent throat cancers often caused by oral sex—a finding that should apply to men as well as women, reports the New York Times. According to a study in PLoS One, Cervarix, originally designed to prevent cervical cancer, protects against throat cancers triggered by the human papillomavirus. It's a big deal because men are almost three times more likely to get the virus and four times more likely to get oropharyngeal cancer, reports Bloomberg. (Just ask Michael Douglas.) The number of heterosexual middle-aged men affected has been soaring.
The new study, involving about 6,000 young Costa Rica women, found that those who got the vaccine were far less likely to get the strain of the virus acquired orally. And if it works for women, there's no reason to think that men wouldn't get the same protection. Further studies on that point await. "If similar results are observed in men, vaccination of boys may become an important public health measure," says the lead researcher. (Read more HPV stories.)