Michael Douglas Lied About His Cancer

We all know the story about how Michael Douglas was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer back in August 2010, and how after 7 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, he was declared tumor-free in January 2011.

Well, turns out that story isn’t quite right.

In an interview with Samuel L. Jackson for U.K. talk show This Morning, Douglas revealed that he really had Stage 4 cancer of the tongue. His diagnosis came right before he was  to go on a big tour for the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. ‘There’s no way we can cancel the tour and say we don’t feel well,'” Douglas told Jackson. “I said, ‘You’ve just got to come out and just tell them I’ve got cancer and that’s it.'”

However, his physician suggested that they say that Michael had “throat cancer” instead of tongue cancer, which had a poorer prognosis:

“But the surgeon said, ‘Let’s just say it’s throat cancer.’ I said ‘OK, you don’t want to say it’s tongue cancer?’, I said ‘why’s that?’ and he said ‘well, if you really wanna know why, if we do have to have surgery it’s not gonna be pretty. You’ll lose part of you jaw and your tongue and all of that stuff. So I said, ‘OK sure’.”

Douglas has been cancer-free for two years. According to Douglas, with his kind of cancer, if you are cancer-free for two years there is a 95% chance you will remain clear.

Douglas did this interview with Jackson as part of This Morning’s Male Cancer Awareness Week. The One For The Boys campaign is about raising awareness of male cancers.

At the end of the interview, Douglas does an impromptu PSA for men:

Hey guys, you look at your body every day. You know every mole everything that’s there. You see something looks a little strange, you feel a bump somewhere- check it out.
Please, I made the mistake, I don’t want to see you do it.


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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