Michael Douglas says oral sex caused his cancer, sort of

Jun 3, 2013 at 1:07 p.m. ET

Michael Douglas attempted to explain the cause for his cancer in a recent interview, but he is now saying he was misunderstood. Either way, it could open an important discussion for cancer prevention.

Michael Douglas Michael Douglas made waves over the weekend after telling The Guardian his cancer may have been caused by oral sex, but he is now saying he was misunderstood.

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The newspaper asked Douglas if he regretted years of smoking and drinking, because of the throat cancer he eventually developed.

"No,” he answered. “Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus."

He admits other things may have helped the cancer, but he has learned more about the disease since being diagnosed in 2010.

"I did worry if the stress caused by my son's incarceration didn't help trigger it,” he added. “But yeah, it's a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer. And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it."

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While it sure sounds like Douglas thinks that was the cause of his cancer, a rep for the actor is now saying that isn’t what he meant at all.

“Michael Douglas did not say cunnilingus was the cause of his cancer,” Douglas’ rep Allen Burry told USA Today. “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."

Whether or not oral sex was the cause for his cancer, Douglas’ interview may be valuable. He just educated the world on a cause of a disease not often talked about. According to NBC News, about 63 percent of all new oropharyngeal cancers diagnosed each year are thought to be caused by HPV.

Douglas was initially diagnosed with stage four cancer, but underwent intensive chemotherapy, and has now been cancer-free for two years.

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The 68-year-old actor is staying as busy as ever. He can currently be seen in Behind the Candelabra, as Liberace, and has at least four other projects in the works.

Photo courtesy Lia Toby/WENN.com