Actor Michael Douglas last night stunned a television audience with the announcement that he has “late stage IV throat cancer.”

Actually, “throat cancer” isn’t a medical term. Several different kinds of cancer can involve different parts of the throat and mouth.

Michael Douglas says he has a walnut-sized tumor at the base of his tongue. That’s an oropharyngeal cancer.

Why do people get it? Well, as I have said on my other sites, half of us will get some kind of cancer. He just got this one. But the known risk factors are smoking and drinking – not so much separately but bad when both come together.

However doctors are seeing a sudden general rise in oropharyngeal cases. Not all smoke and drink. Some victims do neither.

Why?

Almost certainly it’s due to the human papillomavirus — HPV, the sexually transmitted virus best known as a cause of cervical cancer and genital warts. Unfortunately, that will call for mass inoculations of Gardasil, from the fools or flunkeys who claim this will help.

Gardasil is a dangerous vaccine and shouldn’t be given even to horses and pigs, never mind humans.

No, it will be the old AIDS scare again, safe sex, all wear condoms and no fun. Seriously, though, there is a problem with this. In my lifetime we’ve all enjoyed frank and liberated sex. There are risks.

More and more cancers are found to be virus-mediated. The trouble is there are often decades between the infection and the tumor.

If caught in its early stages, this “throat cancer” can be cured 85% of the time by surgery or radiation. But sadly for Douglas (and Catherine), his doctors have diagnosed “late stage IV” cancer. It’s not good.

“For the advanced stage IV cancers, it depends on the situation with the lymph nodes in the neck,” Har-El says. “There is over a 60% chance of remission if it has not spread to the lymph nodes. But if it already has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, the odds of remission are more like 40% or 30%.”

Douglas says his cancer has spread to his head and neck, but that his doctors say his odds of survival are 80%. Some of that is just pet talk. But people have beaten the most deadly odds. Let’s see if Douglas can.

He’ll do far better if he reads my book on comprehensive cancer alternatives (including which ones to steer clear of). It’s called “cancer Confidential” and you can learn more about it here:

Cancer Confidential

What To Do To Protect Yourself From Throat Cancer

Get checked if you develop any obvious symptoms:
* Pain in the throat pain
* Difficulty swallowing
* Ear pain (which is actually pain from the base of the tongue referred to the ear)
* Bleeding in the mouth or throat
* Hoarseness, especially persisting 3 weeks or more
* A lump in the throat, or the feeling that something is stuck in the throat

Even if you have something stupidly ordinary but you smoke and drink, go see the doctor. Let him take the hassle. It’s not your job to re-assure yourself when you don’t know what you’re talking about!

See also the National Cancer Institute web site:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/oropharyngeal/Patient