Michael Douglas Cancer Story: Actor Shares His Experience Of Beating Stage IV Oral Cancer

Date July 31, 2018

Who doesn’t love Michael Douglas? Gosh, we were so delighted to learn that the Academy Award-winning actor managed to fight off his cancer! Mr. Douglas had stage IV throat cancer, and as you may know, there’s no stage V. Typically, people with the last stage cancer cannot recover from the disease. We’ve been wondering how Michael Douglas did manage to beat his cancer. His inspirational story indeed can ignite the fire of hope inside of anyone!


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Frightening diagnosis

According to his interview to New York Magazine, Douglas hadn’t been feeling good from the beginning of 2010. The actor knew something’s happening to him, as his tooth was constantly sore. So, the first idea was to visit a dentist. Unfortunately, he and some other specialists didn’t determine the issue and prescribed Douglas antibiotics.


After visiting Spain with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and two beautiful children, Carys and Dylan, Michael decided to take his friend’s advice and visit one doctor in Montreal. After examining the actor’s mouth, the doctor said there was a tumor, which none of the previous specialists had managed to find. Michael’s comment on the moment he learned his diagnosis:

I will always remember the look on his 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. Two days later, after the biopsy, the doctor called and said I had to come in. He told it to me it was stage-four cancer. I said, ‘Stage four. Jesus.’ And that was that.


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Tough treatment

Despite the unpromising prognosis, Douglas immediately started his treatment: multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Because of the radiation, eating became incredibly hard, but the actor decided not to opt for a feeding tube, as he would quickly forget how to swallow. Douglas lost around 45 pounds because of this.

Michael felt like it was some kind of karmic retribution because of how good things had been going in his life. Answering the question if Douglas had missed the work, the actor said he had had no energy to miss anything.

In 2011, Douglas received a standing ovation when he got up to present an award at the Golden Globe.


Sad fact: beating death actually helps your career in Hollywood. Due to Mr. Douglas’ achievement, he became popular once again and received multiple great roles. Nevertheless, we know that Douglas deserved them because of his wonderful talent and acting skill.

Raising awareness

Unfortunately, oropharyngeal cancer, the one that had Michael Douglas, is getting progressively more common. Doctors believe it is mostly linked to smoking and alcohol consumption. However, recent studies show that sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause oral cancer as well. Douglas tries to raise awareness about oropharyngeal cancer by sharing his own experience:

Cancer cannot be fought as a series of individual battles, but [rather] as a well-planned war in which all of us, both medical professionals like yourselves and patients like me, are allies.


Let’s win this war! Let’s spread the information to prevent any misdiagnosed cases and to be able to identify the disease early on.

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Michael Douglas