Michael Douglas: Oral Sex Can Cause Throat Cancer

The 68-year-old Douglas has been free of cancer for more than two years after receiving extensive chemotherapy and has returned to acting.

By Maria Cheng
|  Monday, Jun 3, 2013  |  Updated 1:40 PM CDT
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Douglas has starred in many movies, including "Basic Instinct" and "Fatal Attraction." He is currently appearing in an acclaimed biopic about Liberace.

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Actor Michael Douglas taught the world at least one thing Monday: oral sex can sometimes cause cancer.

In an interview published in the Guardian newspaper, Douglas appeared to blame his own battle with throat cancer on oral sex — although that interpretation was later disputed by one of his representatives.

The Guardian quoted Douglas as attributing his illness to the HPV virus spread through oral sex. When asked about his cancer, Douglas said, "without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV (human papillomavirus), which actually comes from cunnilingus."

In response, spokesman Allen Burry said Douglas never said oral sex was the cause of his own cancer, just one of the many causes.

"In a discussion with the newspaper, they talked about the causes of oral cancer, one of which was oral sex, which is noted and has been known for a while now," Burry said.

Health officials say smoking and drinking alcohol are the main causes of oral cancer, although the human papillomavirus has been linked to one kind of throat cancer. The human papillomavirus is mostly known for causing cervical cancer.

Douglas also told the Guardian he didn't regret his years of smoking and drinking.

A spokesman for the Guardian said in an email that the paper hadn't received any complaints about its interview either from Douglas or his representatives.

Douglas has starred in many movies — including "Basic Instinct," ''Fatal Attraction" and "Wall Street" — and is married to the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. He is currently appearing in a biopic about Liberace titled "Behind the Candelabra."

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