Michael Douglas has revealed that he lied about the type of cancer he was suffering from.
The consummate professional was about to embark on the promotional trail for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps at the time and didn’t want his diagnosis to derail it.
Speaking to Samuel L Jackson during the special Male Cancer Awareness Week edition of ITV talkshow This Morning, the two-time Oscar-winner admitted three years after the fact that he was actually diagnosed with tongue cancer, not throat cancer as initially reported.
As the 69-year-old explains: ‘This was right before I had to go on a big tour for Wall Street, so we kind of said there’s no way we can cancel the tour and say we don’t feel well. I said, “You’ve just got to come out and just tell them I’ve got cancer and that’s that.”‘
But Douglas’s doctor urged him to bend the truth as the worse-case treatment required for tongue cancer would be far more invasive and subsequently damaging to his career.
‘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 want to know why, if we do have to have surgery, it’s not going to be pretty. You’ll lose part of you jaw and your tongue and all of that stuff.” So I said, “OK sure.”‘
The actor didn’t mislead fans about the progression of the cancer, with the star confirming it was still stage-four, which is the most advanced.
He also opened up about being misdiagnosed a number of times before a specialist in Montreal, Canada finally discovered the severity of the illness.
‘I will always remember the look on his face,’ Michael said, after the doctor located the cancerous tumour while using a tongue depressor.
‘He said, “We need a biopsy.” There was a walnut-size tumour at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen.’
Back in May, the Behind The Candelabra Emmy-winner confirmed that his cancer was not caused by smoking but from the HPV virus, contracted through performing oral sex on women.
His rep later stated, however, that the remarks had been taken out of context.
Read more: Daily Mail