During his cancer battle, Michael Douglas never feared death — or even thought of it as a possibility.
The actor, 74, beat cancer in 2011, and is admitting that death was not something he contemplated as he fought the disease.
“It’s weird, I know, but during the whole period of chemotherapy and radiation, it never crossed my mind that I could die,” Douglas recently told French outlet Paris Match.
The actor was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010, and underwent chemotherapy and radiation to fight the disease, which was at stage IV.
“My mother was 92 when she died” he continued. “My father, he recently celebrated his 102nd birthday. I have never thought much about death or aging.”
After successfully beating the disease in 2011, Douglas found a newfound appreciation for life. Today, his daughter reminds him of the life he has ahead of him.
“It’s mostly my 16-year-old daughter, Carys, who makes me realize how old I am,” he told the magazine. “She often tells me: ‘Do you realize, dad, that when I’m 25 years old you’ll be 83?’ When she explains to me that she’s afraid I won’t be here when she gets married, tears come to my eyes.”
He continued, “At the peak of my career, I dreamed of the day when I would have time to be bored. This time has arrived, but after two weeks without work, I start going around in circles. And my obsession today is not to waste time.”
Eight years since being cancer free, Douglas is positive that the disease is long behind him.
“I check every six months,” he explained of his health checkups. “I believe, and I hope, that I’ve escaped. One thing is certain, my cancer has made me a free man.”
“No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus,” he said.
“But yeah, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer,” the actor continued. “And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”
The internet quickly grew angry at the actor for his comments, leading Douglas to issue a clarification on his statements.
“Michael Douglas did not say cunnilingus was the cause of his cancer,” his rep said in a statement. “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.”
His remarks did serve to raise awareness about HPV’s role in a certain type of oral cancer, namely those classified as oropharyngeal cancer, a cancer that affects the back third of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat and the tonsils. But experts said that the clarification was in order.
“Oral sex doesn’t cause oral cancer,” said Dr. Maura Gillison, a head and neck medical oncologist and professor at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “It’s a means by which to acquire an infection that rarely causes cancer.”