In June, Michael Douglas revealed that his cancer battle was not against throat cancer, as he originally said back in 2010, but cancer of the tongue. On Thursday, Wonderwall reported that he misled fans about the problem, not because of embarrassment over the cause, but rather because treatment could possibly have led to cutting away a section of his jaw.
Douglas was being interviewed by fellow actor Samuel L. Jackson as part of the British TV show "This Morning's Male Cancer Week." He told Jackson of the initial moment he was informed of his diagnosis.
[The doctor] said, "Let's just say it's throat cancer." I said, "OK." [He said] "We don't want to say it's tongue cancer." I said, "Why is that?" He said, "If you really want to know why, if we do have to do surgery it's not going to be pretty. You lose part of your jaw and your tongue and all that stuff." I was [saying], "OK, sure. I'm with you."
I wouldn't be able to talk. [I would have to do] silent movies! [When directors ask,] "What's your good side?" [I'd be saying] "I'll tell you what my good side is - right here! I have no side over here.
Speaking in June to The Guardian, Douglas said that his cancer was possibly caused by oral sex. He said:
No. No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.
From cunnilingus. I mean, 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.
Asked at the time, doctors agreed with Douglas' rather blunt assessment.
Again speaking to Jackson, Douglas said he has had his final checkup. He said:
[The checkups] start out every three months and then after that you get to six months, and just before I got here I had my last checkup because I passed two years, and I'm clean. And with my type of cancer, if you're clean after two years, there's a 95 percent chance it's not coming back.