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Lee Tomlinson wasn’t a smoker. He wasn’t a drinker. He was a longtime professional tennis player and marathoner based in Los Angeles, “the healthiest guy anyone knew,” he says.

That’s why, in 2012, at the age of 62, he was shocked to learn that he had stage-three throat cancer.

Until fairly recently, most oropharyngeal cancers — cancers of the back of the throat, the tonsils, and the base of the tongue — mainly showed up in people who smoked and drank heavily, and usually quite late in life.

But Tomlinson’s illness was caused by something else: human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that can be genital or oral.

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