Michael Douglas Has Throat Tumor: What are His Chances?

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Michael Douglas on June 10, 2010 in Culver City, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(CBS/AP) Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas, 65, is taking on a new role in real life:

Cancer patient.

PICTURES: Michael Douglas Battles Cancer

The 65-year-old ex-smoker has a tumor in his throat and will undergo radiation and chemotherapy in a series of treatments expected to last eight weeks.

Douglas is likely to make a full recovery, says Dr. Robert Haddad, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston who is not involved in Douglas's care.

But he says the cancer is probably in a relatively advanced state.

If Douglas' cancer were Stage I or II, says Dr. Haddad, the treatment would probably be limited to radiation alone.

"This is likely to be Stage III or IV," he says. "My prediction is, based on the information released, that the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck."

Douglas has a difficult journey ahead. During the two months of treatment, he may have to be fed through a tube, as swallowing will be difficult.

Many patients develop severe mouth sores, and need strong pain medications, even narcotics like morphine, to get through it.

These side effects of radiation can last two to three months after treatment, according to Haddad. Once Douglas gets through it - and Haddad said this type of cancer responds well to radiation and chemotherapy - he will have to make some life adjustments.

Not only must he never smoke, he must stay away from second-hand smoke and alcohol.

If the cancer returns, it will be very hard to treat a second time.

  • Aina Hunter

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