Michael Douglas says oral sex caused his throat cancer

Actor Michael Douglas says oral sex is the reason behind his stage 4 throat cancer.

In an interview with Britain's The Guardian, Douglas discussed his role in the Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" and his throat cancer which was diagnosed in August 2010.

Douglas said doctors missed the walnut-sized tumor at the back of his tongue after he suffered with throat irritation for months. Douglas finally went to see a friend's doctor in Montreal who used a tongue depressor to look inside his mouth.

""I will always remember the look on his face," Douglas said previously. "He said: 'We need a biopsy.' There was a walnut-size tumour at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen," said Douglas.

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The human papillomavirus virus (HPV) has long been linked to oral cancers in men through oral sex. But according to CBS and ABC, a new report shows that the rate of HPV linked oral cancers in men is rapidly increasing.

Though the report mainly focuses on an increase in the rates of upper throat cancers in men, the same is true for cancers of the tongue, neck and the mucus membranes lining the inner cheeks.

The report -- published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology -- showed that cases of HPV-positive tumors in men rose from 16 percent in the late 1980s to nearly 73 percent by the early 2000s.

The HPV virus is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection. But the majority of HPV infections in young women usually disappear before 1 year, causing no symptoms.

The 5-10% of infections in women that persist for years will usually develop into cervical cancer.

While women can also get oral cancer, the risk to men is far greater. The majority of infected women show no symptoms, but the HPV virus is still floating in their vaginal fluid, and is easily transmitted to men, just like the HIV virus.

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