Michael Douglas didn’t have throat cancer, it was tongue cancer: sketchy?

Michael Douglas

Now this is a puzzling press move. Back in 2010, Michael Douglas revealed (while touring to promote Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) that he had throat cancer. His cancer was at a stage four, but he was treated successfully and declared cancer free in early 2011. The discussion continued on his summer tour for Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra. Michael declared how his cancer was caused by HPV, not smoking. Of course that declaration set all sorts of tongues wagging (har har). Michael’s ex-wife, Diandra, even chimed in to say she didn’t have HPV, so he must have picked it up somewhere else.

Now Michael is changing his story to say that he didn’t have cancer of the throat but of the tongue. Mofo Samuel L. Jackson interviewed Michael for UK’s This Morning, and the truth finally came to light:

Michael Douglas

The world was shocked when Michael Douglas announced he had stage four throat cancer in August 2010, but the Oscar winner now reveals that he wasn’t telling the whole truth.

In an interview with Samuel L. Jackson on the U.K. talk show This Morning the actor, 69, admitted Thursday that he’d actually successfully battled tongue — not throat — cancer.

“This was right before I had a big tour for Wall Street, so we said, ‘There’s no way we can cancel the tour and say we don’t feel well,'” Douglas admitted. “I said, ‘You’ve just got to come out and just tell them I’ve got cancer and that’s it.'”

His doctor, who’d found a walnut-size tumor at the base of Douglas’s tongue, warned the actor that he might not want to reveal that he had a disease with such a negative prognosis on the eve of a massive press tour.

“The surgeon said, ‘Let’s just say it’s throat cancer,'” the Last Vegas star reveals, explaining that the doctor told him that if they had to do surgery for tongue cancer “it’s not going to be pretty,” and that Douglas faced losing part of his jaw and tongue.

Rather than having to discuss possible facial disfigurement with scores of reporters on the press tour, they decided to disguise the truth.

Douglas, who’s currently separated from wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, underwent aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment and was declared tumor-free in January 2011.

[From People]

This is a strange admission at this point, right? I can see how Michael wouldn’t have wanted to answer questions about possible tongue removal and disfigurement on a press tour. At the same time, he still put it out there that the tumor was on the back of his tongue. Odd. Thankfully, the end result is the same, and he no longer has cancer.

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas

Photos courtesy of WENN

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37 Responses to “Michael Douglas didn’t have throat cancer, it was tongue cancer: sketchy?”

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  1. aang says:

    Who needs or cares to know about the specifics? Why is he keeping this story around? If I beat cancer I’d want to move on.

  2. May says:

    Can HPV cause throat cancer as well? Because if it doesn’t, then it was a total dick move to even mention it and have everyone wondering if Zeta-Jones “caused” it.

  3. MrsBPitt says:

    Sorry, I always think MD is sketchy…I’ve just never thought that he was a “good” guy…I’m glad he beat his cancer, though…

    • Andrew says:

      I can’t believe that we’re even obsessing ourselves over somebody’s cancer diagnosis….I know this is a celeb blog but seriously, why start rumors concerning CANCER? None of our business, even if he’s the one who is bringing it up and even if he is ‘sketchy’. Cancer affects a human life, and I don’t care who that life is, but he doesn’t deserve any negativity. No matter what type of cancer he had, it’s an incredible feat to beat it and to have purpose in life. Sorry…I’m in a ticked off mood this morning due to some jackasses so I hope I’m not acting like a d–k 🙂

      • Andrew says:

        Side note now that I’ve calmed down: I have no idea who my original post was aimed at…I’m not saying the article or the posters above me threw shade or are being mean. I guess just consider it a warning for the dummies that do want to try to start conspiracy theories and crud. Lord I just need sleep

    • Lucinda says:

      I agree. He’s always been kinda a jerk. I don’t care that he said throat instead of tongue. I do care that he waited this long to clarify. I do care that he threw the women in his life under the bus about the whole HPV thing. I do care that he dropped his current wife once she started having a rough time, presumably aggravated by the stress of caring for his sorry a$$, instead of standing by her. Good actor. Pathetic man.

  4. Frida_K says:

    Look at his posture in that first picture. Legs spread wiiiiiide and hands framing his business.

    He needs to sit up straight and bring his knees together just a tad.


  5. Sixer says:

    Assuming this is the TNM cancer staging system, it’s quite remarkable he’s still alive, whatever cancer he has/had. Stage 4 is for an advanced cancer that has spread beyond the original site.

    I *really* hope it isn’t a sketchy story.

  6. Anoninga says:

    There are a lot of reports that Michael is trying to repair his marriage to CZT, maybe this has something to do with that?

  7. Michaels Closet says:

    Omg, why is he sitting like that? He looks like a circus act.

  8. sunnydaze says:

    I think its sad that despite the overwhelming amount of women who have hpv, and how outrageously easy it is to get, there is still this stigma. Lying, fibbing, whatever it is he did I feel like added to that stigma – we only have to look at the response his ex gave “it wasn’t me!” There was a lot of side eyeing CZJ. Theres no reason he had to bring hpv into it with some elaborate story. On the plus side I suppose in a weird way it did bring awareness to hpv and how it can affect men. http://Www.cdc.gov/hpv/cancer.html is a reliable place to find some stats.

    That being said I’m glad he’s doing better. But as someone who provides STI/HIV/HCV testing I’m torn between happy more people are being tested and bothered by the resurgence in stigma.

    • m says:

      +1 Thank you! I couldn’t agree more

    • Taleese says:

      I had HPV in my early 20’s and it was the scariest thing. I had some kind of lesion and my doctor did a procedure to remove it. When it was over I started crying and thanking my doctor profusely for helping me. Cancer runs in my family and I’m petrified of it.

      I just want more people, men and women both, to be aware of and educated about HPV. I had no symptoms whatsoever; it was found during my routine pap smear.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I lost all respect for Michael when he announced oral sex caused his cancer and then refused to apologize to Catherine for implying she has HPV. The Douglas men have always been jerks!

    • Jayna says:

      He did give a statement later saying he never meant to imply that Catherine gave it to him. That she didn’t give it to him and that Catherine doesn’t have HPV and is healthy.

      Michael I think drinks a little too much and gives interviews while a little inebriated and he’s older and rambles sometimes.

      I never took it to mean she gave it to him anyway. He was much older when he met Catherine. By then Michael had slept with a ton of women, and anyone with any sense would know he probably contracted HPV back in his much younger, wilder days in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s and even ’90s when he was banging lots of women. For anyone to think he finally got HPV when he was in his mid 50s is pretty naive.

      • JaNIL says:

        He may not have contracted HPV from Catherine, but she probably does have it by now since she’s been sleeping with him for many years. Don’t you think?

        Many celebrities have venereal diseases. They have access to sleep with anyone they want, and often do.

    • Green Eyes says:

      How ironic:), was just about to write how much more he is looking like his dad… In every way

  10. Roxy says:

    Who cares? It’s his life and his illness, if he wants to keep things private, he has every right. His personal life is actually no ones business.

  11. Jayna says:

    Roger Ebert had oral cancer(not specifically tongue) but was horribly disfigured by it. I can see why maybe his doctors said to not be so specific on that careerwise. He just followed their advice during a horrible and frightening period of his life. It’s not anything he came up with. It was just advice in the beginning when everything was so uncertain. He’s a lucky man. I hope it doesn’t come back. Eighty-five to 90 percent of recurrences are within the first two years. He beat that. He has a high chance it won’t return, but there are the unlucky ones in that 10 percent that it returns

    • Blannie says:

      Roger Ebert’s got cancer as a result of childhood x-rays to shrink his tonsils. That’s what they did for a short time back in the early 1950s, rather than tonsillectomies. My brother also had that done and has to get regular checks to make sure he’s not developing a similar cancer.

  12. truthful says:

    He still had cancer, so he had to deal with a lot. I don’t see the big deal.

  13. Couldn't says:

    Is it to early:
    Its, Sir mister Lick a lot for you!!!!

  14. sorella says:

    I completely understand the reason he lied, but why does he keep talking about it, just stop already,if he made that decision, stick by it and end the talk about it.

    And yes, he should sit up and properly, ugh, turn-off.

    • LadySlippers says:


      If, and only if, MD wanted to shed awareness on how HPV affects men, sure then bring up the origins of his cancer. Otherwise, it looks like he’s trying to be…… IDK but he just ended sounding super creepy. *shudders*

  15. So let me get this straight…he decided to spew out total unfounded garbage about how HPV may or may not have caused his cancer which made people and the press question whether his wife has HPV, yet he kept a confirmed diagnosis based on facts hidden so nobody asks him about jaw reconstruction?

  16. JaNIL says:

    Douglas may not have caught HPV from his wife, CZJ. But since they’ve been married for many years, she probably DOES have HPV.

  17. JaNIL says:

    And their recent split makes it seem as though CZJ was really angry at Michael Douglas for going public about the cause of his illness.

  18. Paralethal says:

    My husband had oral cancer of the tongue last year. The tongue is divided into 2 areas: the front 2/3s is called the oral tongue; the last 1/3 is the base of the tongue, and it’s actually in your throat. Base of tongue cancer is almost always caused by HPV and is more common than oral tongue cancer, which is almost never caused by HPV (my husband’s cancer was oral, and HPV-negative). Oral cancer is stage using the TNM system but it’s not as dire to get a Stage III or IV diagnosis of oral cancer as it is with other kinds. I mean, it’s not GOOD and beating it is still very difficult and painful, but when you hear Stage IV in oral cancer it’s not synonomous with “terminal.”

    PSA time: Oral cancer of the tongue is almost always advanced at diagnosis because it’s hard to detect. If you have a sore in your mouth or throat that won’t heal, or if you have a weird white or red patch on your tongue, go see an ENT and get it checked out!

  19. Deedee says:

    In all honesty, while he did refer to it as throat cancer, he did describe it as a walnut sized tumor at the base of his tongue in 2010.

    And he was spot on to let the public know that orophayrgeal and throat cancer are related to HPV.

  20. India says:

    I’m totally grossed out by him. What a nasty jerk.