Michael Douglas has opened up about his past diagnosis, revealing that oral sex, not smoking or drinking, caused his type of throat cancer.
In a candid new interview with U.K.’s The Guardian, Douglas admits that his illness was caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
“Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus,” the “Behind the Candelabra” star, 68, explains.
Douglas, who fought a six-month battle with the disease from August 2010 until January 2011, also confesses that he thought that his battle with cancer would be a fatal one. He says at first he assumed the stress from his son Cameron’s legal troubles played a big factor in his sickness.
“I did worry if the stress caused by my son’s incarceration didn’t help trigger it. But yeah, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer,” Douglas, who is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, notes. “And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”
The actor has been cancer-free for more than two years and says he has check-ups every six months. “And with this kind of cancer, 95% of the time it doesn’t come back,” he adds. Still, Douglas will never forget what it felt like to hear that word.
“I will always remember the look on his face,” Douglas previously said of his doctor, who revealed that he had stage four throat cancer. “He said: ‘We need a biopsy.’ There was a walnut-size tumor at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen.”
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, one tract of HPV — known as HPV16 — is known to be linked to oral cancer, manifesting itself in the back regions of the throat and mouth. Douglas admits he suffered through toothaches and other oral infections for nine months before discovering his diagnosis.