Actor Michael Douglas reveals to the Guardian that HPV, transmitted through eating the box, was responsible for his throat cancer.
The actor, now 68, was diagnosed with cancer in August 2010, following many months of oral discomfort. But a series of specialists missed the tumour and instead prescribed antibiotics. Douglas then went to see a friend’s doctor in Montreal who looked inside his mouth using a tongue depressor.
“I will always remember the look on his face,” Douglas has previously said. “He said: ‘We need a biopsy.’ There was a walnut-size tumour at the base of my tongue that no other doctor had seen.” he said.
HPV, the sexually transmitted virus best known as a cause of cervical and anal cancer and genital warts, is thought to be responsible for an increasing proportion of oral cancers.
Some suggest that changes in sexual behavior – a rise in oral sex in particular – are responsible. Such changes might be cultural, but could also be linked to fears about the safety of penetrative sex in the wake of the Aids epidemic.