Michael Douglas: His Throat Cancer Was Caused By Oral Sex?
I saw this early this afternoon on my Facebook feed. Yes, I laughed at first too from surprise, but this is not funny. It may point to a startling trend. Michael Douglas‘ stage four throat cancer may not have been caused by his smoking or by his drinking or even by his recreational drug use as previously thought. Nope. It could also have been caused by going down on his current wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones (and hopefully not anyone else, but one never knows if you’re conversant with Douglas’ reputation as a cocksman, just like his dad). HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is a sexually-transmitted disease which causes genital warts, cervical cancer and anal cancer. Here’s the money segment from The Guardian article:
The throat cancer, I assume, was first seeded during those wild middle years, when he drank like a fish and smoked like the devil. Looking back, knowing what he knows now, does he feel he overloaded his system?
“No,” he says. “No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”
From what? For a moment I think that I may have misheard.
“From cunnilingus. I mean, I did worry if the stress caused by my son’s incarceration [Cameron Douglas, from an earlier marriage] didn’t help trigger it. But yeah, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer.” He shrugs. “And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”
Right, I say. OK. So what he is suggesting is that it all evens out? “That’s right,” says Douglas. “It giveth and it taketh.”
Let’s say that Douglas is following in the steps of Angelina Jolie in telling about the incidence of this particular malady for the public’s information, so that people—namely men—can get medical help and advice. On the other hand, though, I would not be surprised if Douglas decided to put this out in light of his performance as Liberace in HBO’s Behind The Candelabra, and to quash any possible salaciousness about his own sexuality. From NBC:
[…I]n recent years, a rising number of head, neck and anal cancers have been tied to HPV, a sexually transmitted virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 63 percent of the estimated 11,726 cases of oropharyngeal cancers diagnosed each year in the United States are thought to be caused by HPV. About 3,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with HPV-associated anal cancer and the rate of infection appears to be increasing.
Between 1988 and 2004, head, neck and throat cancers that tested positive for the human papilloma virus rose an astounding 225 percent, according to one study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Because of a reluctance to discuss oral sex, these facts are often overlooked, which is why many might be surprised by Douglas’s frank talk. His willingness to discuss the cause of his cancer may provide more impetus for wider adoption of HPV vaccines in the United States, which lags some other countries.
Researchers queried by The Guardian have also noted that some people have been engaging in cunnilingus far more than actual coitus lately. In other words, they’re not fcking as easily, probably thinking that by going down on someone they won’t get an STD as easily as they would doing the nasty. Well, surprise, surprise: you can. Of course, the researchers are seeing an upswing in sufferers among the younger generation.
Some suggest that changes in sexual behaviour – a rise in oral sex in particular – are responsible. Such changes might be cultural, but could also be linked to fears about the safety of penetrative sex in the wake of the Aids epidemic.
Mahesh Kumar, a consultant head and neck surgeon in London, confirmed that the last decade has seen a dramatic rise in this form of cancer, particularly among younger sufferers. Recent studies of 1,316 patients with oral cancer found that 57% of them were HPV-16 positive.
“It has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the HPV type 16 is the causative agent in oropharyngeal cancer,” said Kumar, who also testified to increased recovery rates among this kind of cancer sufferer. This would help explain why Douglas was given an 80% chance of survival, despite the advanced stage of his illness.
But Kumar expressed scepticism that Douglas’s cancer was caused solely by HPV, and surprise at Douglas’s assertion that cunnilingus could also help cure the condition. “Maybe he thinks that more exposure to the virus will boost his immune system. But medically, that just doesn’t make sense.”
Which means that Douglas should stick to acting, and leave the medical ins and outs to the doctors.
So, now we know that Michael Douglas goes down on Catherine Zeta Jones all the time. Good for her and everything […] [..T]he oral sex explanation makes for a nice headline, but it really serves only to further burnish Michael Douglas’ reputation as a raging sex god with a silken tongue and electric fingertips. Nevertheless, we should all thank him for sharing. I’m sure Catherine Zeta Jones is not at all mortified.
I’ll bet. It certainly makes me wonder how she’s been taking care of herself lately. It’s almost as if, by omission, he’s blaming this emotionally-sensitive woman for his medical problems, too. Uncouth. Doesn’t he know that the human mouth (and tongue) is full of germies, too? For the record, anyone can get this virus—whether monogamous or sleeping around. You just have to be sexually active.
- Michael Douglas: ‘Oral Sex Caused My Throat Cancer’ (radaronline.com)
- Michael Douglas Blames Cancer on Oral Sex (newser.com)
- Actor Michael Douglas: My throat cancer was caused by oral sex (rawstory.com)
- How Is HPV Transmitted? A Medical Overview (aids.answers.com)
- Michael Douglas Says His Cancer Was Caused By Oral Sex (businessinsider.com)
- Complications and Health Risks of HPV (womenshealth.answers.com)