MICHAEL DOUGLAS: Oral sex gave me cancer - KMSP-TV

MICHAEL DOUGLAS: Oral sex gave me cancer

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Michael Douglas made a jaw-dropping revelation about his throat cancer in an interview with The Guardian newspaper: He believes he contracted it from oral sex and not from smoking or drinking.

The Oscar-winning Hollywood star set tongues wagging after he told The Guardian newspaper that he contracted HPV, or human papillomavirus, through a sex act and it developed into cancer.

"Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus," he told the British newspaper in an interview published yesterday.

After Douglas was diagnosed with the life-threatening illness in 2010, he said on "Late Show with David Letterman" that the kind of cancer he had was caused by smoking and drinking. Now, his publicist confirms that the actor believes he contracted the disease through oral sex.

In yesterday's interview, the 68-year-old actor speculated that his son Cameron's legal woes may have borne some responsibility, too.

"I did worry if the stress caused by my son's incarceration didn't help trigger it," the "Wall Street" actor said of Cameron Douglas, who is serving 10 years in a federal prison for heroin possession and distribution. "But, yeah, it's a sexually transmitted disease that causes [the] cancer."

Doctors are able to genetically identify whether cancer is caused by HPV, and Douglas is hardly alone. HPV is commonly known to cause cervical cancer, but it does present a risk for oral cancers as well.

"You really can't protect yourself from HPV because it's everywhere," said Dr. Frank Rhame, who has been treating STDs for 30 years.

According to Rhame, anyone who has ever had a wart has had HPV, but two particular strains -- HPV 16 and 18 -- can cause cancer. In fact, the virus is the main cause of throat cancer in men between the ages of 35 and 65.

"The cancers attributable to smoking are going down and the cancers attributable to HPV are going up," he said.

In fact, 60 percent of all throat and mouth cancers are caused by HPV -- and while the HPV vaccine is recommend for men and women under the age of 25 to guard against cervical cancer, there is no evidence it helps prevent oral cancer.

As for those who are too old for the vaccine, Rhame was remarkably candid about their options.

"Your doctor has no clue," he said. "There is no recommendation for HPV testing."

With the exception of pap smears, there is no accepted overall screening practice for HPV. The good news is that the survival rate from oral cancer is 80 to 90 percent.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/06/03/michael-douglas-oral-sex-gave-me-cancer/#ixzz2VAQddKnQ

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