Michael Douglas Blames His Throat Cancer on Oral Sex

Michael Douglas, known for his roles in Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction, has said that oral sex is likely to blame for his throat cancer.

The actor, currently receiving praise for his performance in the Liberace film Behind the Candelabra, spoke candidly in an interview about the history of his illness, which was considered terminal when he was first diagnosed three years ago. When asked if he had any regrets about his lifelong habits of smoking and drinking, which are commonly seen as the root of his illness, Douglas responded: “No. Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which comes from cunnilingus.”

Michael Douglas Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

Catherine Zeta Jones’s husband, Douglas, said, “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. And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”

After suffering from oral pain for months, the actor (now 68) was finally diagnosed with cancer in August 2010. However, multiple doctors failed to diagnose cancer and instead prescribed antibiotics. The doctor Douglas saw in Montreal was a friend’s, and he used a tongue depressor to examine Douglas’s mouth.

“I will always remember the look on his face,” Douglas said. “He said: ‘We need a biopsy.’ There was a walnut-size tumor at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen.”

michael douglas cancer
michael douglas cancer

Shortly after, he underwent an aggressive eight-week course of chemotherapy and radiation for his stage four cancer, which is usually fatal. Despite the fact that the treatment had caused burns to his palate, he refused to utilize a feeding tube and shed 20 kilograms (45 pounds) while subsisting on a liquid diet. “That’s a rough ride. That can take it out of you,” he said. “Plus the amount of chemo I was getting, it zaps all the good stuff too. It made me very weak.”

After undergoing treatment, Douglas has been cancer-free for almost two years. He goes in for checkups every six months, and he said, “and with this kind of cancer, 95% of the time it doesn’t come back”.

Douglas’s cancer has long been blamed on his heavy tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. His alleged sex addiction landed him in the ICU in 1992. In response, Douglas claimed he was attending alcoholism treatment. The use of drugs for fun has also been discussed by him.

A rising number of cases of oral cancer have been linked to HPV, the sexually transmitted virus most commonly associated with causing cervical and anal cancer and genital warts.

Some argue that shifts in sexual behavior are to blame, specifically the popularity of oral sex. These alterations could result from societal shifts, but they could also be related to concerns about the safety of penetrative sex in the wake of the AIDS crisis.

London-based consultant head and neck surgeon Mahesh Kumar corroborated the huge increase in new cases of this malignancy over the past decade, especially among younger patients. 57% of 1,316 patients with oral cancer were HPV-16 positive, according to recent studies.

As Kumar put it, “it has been established without reasonable doubt that the HPV type 16 is the causative agent in oropharyngeal cancer,” and he also testified to improved survival rates for those with this disease. That’s why, despite Douglas’s grave condition, doctors still gave him an 80% chance of life.

Kumar, however, was skeptical that HPV was the only cause of Douglas’s cancer and seemed surprised by his claim that cunnilingus may potentially help heal the illness.  “Maybe he thinks more exposure to the virus will boost his immune system. But medically, that just doesn’t make sense.”

General practitioner Ann Robinson wondered how the confirmed link would influence the limited distribution of the HPV vaccine in the United Kingdom.  “My main priority with diagnosing a patient with oral cancer is getting them referred, as early intervention can be crucial. Asking for a detailed sexual history would be inappropriate at that stage.”

In addition to his son Cameron from a previous marriage, Douglas has two children, ages 10 and 12, with his second wife, Zeta-Jones. Cameron was originally sentenced to five years in jail for drug possession and distribution in 2010, but his sentence was extended until 2018, when he pled guilty to possessing cocaine while in prison.

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