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Foot in mouth disease - Hollywood star claims oral sex caused cancer

Published:Monday | June 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

 The Soloist, Contributor

So, on Monday June 3, HealthDay News carried a story under the headline 'Hollywood star Michael Douglas says oral sex caused his recent bout with throat cancer'. It read in part: "Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus," Douglas, 68, told the British newspaper The Guardian. He added that he has had real success beating back the tumour with chemotherapy and, "with this kind of cancer, 95 per cent of the time it doesn't come back."

Douglas is also a long-time smoker, and was at one time a heavy drinker - both behaviours are risk factors for throat cancer. But experts say it's not farfetched to think oral sex may have been a contributing factor.

A day later, Douglas was taking it all back and in another story headlined 'Michael Douglas: Oral sex didn't give me throat cancer', the actor denied saying his throat cancer was caused by oral sex. With the news making headlines all over the world, his spokesman, Alan Burry, said the star was quoted out of context over the sex virus HPV.

Alan said: "Michael didn't say cunnilingus was the cause of his cancer. It was discussed that oral sex is a suspected cause of certain oral cancers. He didn't say it was the specific cause of his."

Douglas had a tongue tumour in 2010.

Asked if he regretted drinking and smoking, he reportedly said: "No. Because this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes from cunnilingus."

Now, I am not surprised by Douglas' backpedalling or retraction or whatever it may be. Being married to one of the most gorgeous and loved women in Hollywood, and coming so soon after her revelation of her bipolar illness, I thought ... how insensitive! So you had throat cancer and you recovered, for Christ's sake, why not go to confession every darn day and move on with your lucky life instead of begging for more publicity?

count your blessings

Lest we forget, Douglas is also living with the fact that his eldest son is now serving a prison sentence for drug possession. So, with that on his plate and with the approaching deadline of his allotted three scores and 10 years, I think he should count his blessings and stop playing doctor unless it's in his next multimillion-dollar script.

I just hope he had a really good explanation for Mrs Douglas as to where/how he picked up the virus. And I hope he understands that many of us are not impressed by the underlying implications of his inclinations towards cunnilingus. We already know that for men of a certain age, soldiers no longer stand at attention, so tongues have to wag in order to induce sexual pleasure ... especially in a wife many moons your junior. This might be the tell-all age, but I would have been better off left in the dark on this matter.

lifestyle@gleanerjm.m.com