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Michael Douglas rep backtracks on oral sex-cancer connection

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Michael Douglas said in a recent interview cunnilingus was responsible for his throat cancer. Douglas, who is cancer-free, publicly announced his diagnosis in 2010 on "Late Show with David Letterman." (Source: CBS/MGN) Michael Douglas said in a recent interview cunnilingus was responsible for his throat cancer. Douglas, who is cancer-free, publicly announced his diagnosis in 2010 on "Late Show with David Letterman." (Source: CBS/MGN)

(RNN) – Actor Michael Douglas, once feared to be near death, has been cancer-free for more than two years. In a recent interview, he talked about his belief that the disease was a result of oral sex.

In his account to The Guardian, the star of Wall Street and the new Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, said the human papillomavirus caused his stage four throat cancer. Doctors diagnosed him with in 2010, and he underwent eight weeks of intense chemotherapy and radiation.

"This particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus," Douglas said.

Allen Burry, a spokesman for the actor, attempted Monday to back away from the original story. Burry said Douglas only spoke about what causes cancer, not the cause in his case, according to the Associated Press.

However, Douglas' words, as reported in the story, left little room for interpretation.

"I mean, I did worry if the stress caused by my son's incarceration didn't help trigger it. But yeah, it's a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer." he said.

Douglas, 68, had smoked for many years, so many assumed that had been the cause of the disease. But Mahesh Kumar, a London head and neck surgeon, told Guardian that more than half of the patients with oral cancer were HPV-16 positive in a recent study.

"It has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the HPV type 16 is the causative agent in oropharyngeal cancer," Kumar said.

He also said there were increased recovery rates for people with that type of cancer. Douglas was given an 80 percent chance of survival when he was diagnosed, despite the advanced stage.

In the interview, Douglas also stated oral sex was "the best cure" for HPV-related mouth cancer. Kumar said there was no evidence to back that up, Guardian reported.

"Maybe he thinks that more exposure to the virus will boost his immune system," Kumar said. "But medically, that just doesn't make sense."

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