Michael Douglas: ‘I got throat cancer from performing cunnilingus’

Michael Douglas: ‘I got throat cancer from performing cunnilingus’

Actors are often accused of being irritatingly reticent about their private lives – unwilling to satisfy fans’ and journalists’ curiosity about aspects of their life off the film sets.

But that’s not something that can be said of Michael Douglas’ latest interview, with Xan Brooks, for the Guardian. Asked whether he ascribed his 2010 throat cancer diagnosis to a lifetime of drinking and smoking, he replied particularly frankly:

“No. Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”

“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.”

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So, now that’s out there, how much of it is true? Is oral sex linked to mouth and throat cancers? Is there a difference between the genders? And what can be done? We’ve dug into the stats – especially this NHS guide – to dig out a few answers.

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