In the past two years, researchers and prevention experts have emphasized how the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV) affects women, most typically causing cervical cancer. But now studies show that the virus is affecting oral cancer rates among men. A John Hopkins University report suggests that about 5,600 yearly incidents of upper throat cancer— tonsils, lower tongue and upper throat—are due to HPV.

The good news? The survival rates are increasing.  But Dr. Maura Gillison, the study’s lead author, urges awareness and preventive measures. “We need to start having a discussion about those cancers other than cervical cancer that may be affected in a positive way by the vaccine,” she says.