Most people associate throat cancer with smoking or even drinking, but The Guardian reported yesterday that actor Michael Douglas contracted the disease by way of the human papillomavirus (HPV) caused by oral sex. They quote him as saying: “Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus [...] It’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer. And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”

The Oral Cancer Foundation confirms that a tract of HPV (HPV16) is linked to oral cancer and it usually lives in the back regions of the throat and mouth. The Guardian reports: “HPV, the sexually transmitted virus best known as a cause of cervical and anal cancer and genital warts, is thought to be responsible for an increasing proportion of oral cancers.”

Douglas, who suffered toothaches and oral infections for nine months before being diagnosed, recalls the moment he learned he had stage four throat cancer in August 2010: “I will always remember the look on [my doctor's] face. He said: ‘We need a biopsy.’ There was a walnut-size tumor at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen.”

Douglas has been cancer-free for more than two years after an intensive eight-week course of chemotherapy and radiation. He gets regular six-month check-ups. He says this ind of cancer doesn’t come back “95% of the time.”

UPDATE: Michael Douglas’ longtime rep, Allen Burry, told USA Today that although the headline on the Guardian story is “Michael Douglas: Oral Sex caused my cancer,” that’s not what the actor said. “Michael Douglas did not say cunnilingus was the cause of his cancer. It was discussed that oral sex is a suspected cause of certain oral cancers as doctors in the article point out but he did not say it was the specific cause of his personal cancer.”

Interesting. It’s still news to me that you can get cancer through HPV and oral sex. What are your thoughts, Clutchettes?

  • RaiseTheBar

    What must Catherine be thinking or saying to herself?

    Someone(s) at the “Guardian” may find themselves on the defense side of a major lawsuit for misquoting Michael’s word.

  • Ask_ME

    He was just mooching on some nasty coochie.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays


  • Brad

    “What must Catherine be thinking or saying to herself?” – Well you have it already so don’t stop now ;-0

    That was imature but, so so easy someone had to….

  • http://gravatar.com/yesimthatleah Yes, I’m That Leah

    HPV is serious….. It will kill you so fast and horribly! Anal cancer and cervical cancer are caused by HPV virus. HPV is a new virus and needs much more attention! I could go on but all I’m going to say is this. Please teach your teenagers not have anal sex, not to sleep around, not participate in group sex. Being exposed to someone who has had anal sex or unclean partner(s) can be deadly!!! I have told my daughter this, didn’t sugar coat a thing!

    Actress Farrah Fawcett died of anal cancer. It took her A LONG TIME to disclose what kind of cancer she had, but I’m so glad she finally did. I respect her for sharing that, and Michael too.

  • http://gravatar.com/jadenoellesblog JN

    While I first thought this was TMI, I’ve read comments on other sites and agree (with those comments) that perhaps this is a great opportunity to advocate for the HPV vaccine for boys as well as girls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pges1 Grace Spencer

    It’s very sad that more isn’t being done to educate people about HPV. My friend uterine cancer was caused by it.

  • Anthony

    I think the TMI response is a natural reaction, but it is great that a movie star is sharing this sort of info because people tend assume that a little lusty licking is safe. The reality is that people’s orifices tend to be the sites of lots of nasty germs that we don’t want to share. The idea of being selective, reducing the number of sex partners, and safe sex at all times is basic survival information.

    Leave sucking on large numbers of random genitalia to the folks in porn!

  • Anthony

    The problem is that positively nasty coochie or cock might come in a very appealing package! If everyone with an STD was ugly and gross, it wouldn’t be the health hazard it is!

  • http://ki kiki

    If you are sexually active you need to be educated on what diseases you may possibly get

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    **cough cough**

  • http://ladyngo.blogspot.com Lady Ngo

    How can it possibly be “news” to anyone that you can get throat cancer from HPV when the entire reason we’ve even been talking about HPV in the past 10 years or so is because of the threat of cervical/uterine cancer it causes?

    Everything seems to give you cancer these days anyway

  • Miakoda

    “It’s still news to me that you can get cancer through HPV

    Um, yea, some forms of HPV cause cancer. Have you been living under a rock or in a cave?

  • Marisa

    I have heard about HPV for awhile now as my ob-gyn makes it a point to bring it up to her clients ALL the time, as to use her words plenty of women are still clueless about HPV. The media does know how to take something said in general and blow this ish up times a million. Catherine has been in and out of treatment for Bi-Polar Disorder, I don’t think this kind of extra sensationalism and scrutiny is what she needs to deal with now.

  • cb

    what is the difference between cunnilingus and fellatio? and can you get HPV from both?

  • Mademoiselle

    cunnilingus: oral on a vagina
    fellatio: oral on a penis

    I’m guessing they specified cunnilingus to head off any homosexual rumors.

  • cb

    thank you

  • Chic Noir

    Oh Lord, articles like this are going to make the men folk stop licking the kitty.

    What am I going to do??? It the only part of the act that I really enjoy.

  • talaktochoba

    when i hear this confirmed by CDC or the Surgeon General or some other august body of reputable doctors, i’ll consider believing it;

    right now, i’m inclined to believe insanity runs rampant in that family, moreso than most in Hollywood…

  • talaktochoba

    too late…

  • talaktochoba

    so why haven’t more prisoners and porn stars been getting it?

    anyone who’s been under the Kennedys (from papa Joe onward) or the Brandos would seem a ripe candidate also;

    then, of course, there are the drug addicts and homosexuals–why hasn’t there been a higher incidence among them?

    there seem to be missing pieces to this story;

  • Miakoda

    You could have just used a dictionary.

  • Anthony

    Buy a dental dam and tell him to go back to work! Then both of you should get tested to see if it is safe to lick it unimpeded.

  • BeBoogie

    that’s the problem right that- people think only ugly people get stds- or the persons body looks ugly- well sometimes that stuff is lying dormat and jumps on you- diseases dont know looks

  • dbsm

    they are not going to stop…especially if they are anticipating some pu$$y.

  • dbsm

    this is one of the rare times in history that i actually agree with you

    i wonder if lightning is about to strike

  • kelly

    My choice of waiting for marriage is looking better and better each day. I dont have to worry about all these disease and well its a good way to weed out the bad apples.

  • talaktochoba

    if lightning is about to strike then someone better get up in the air control tower quick and give those pigs instructions on where to land…

  • LadyLioness

    So now folks want to advocate for HPV vaccines, how about you encourage your children and yourselves to stop engaging in Oral & Anal sex. Your mouth is for you to eat food & your anus is for deification!

  • LadyLioness

    *typo I meant Defecation. Darn iPad.

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