Michael Douglas Says He's Cancer-Free

Michael Douglas And Catherine Zeta-Jones Visit Universal Studios Hollywood At Thanksgiving Caption: ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 27: In this handout photo provided by Universal Orlando, Academy award-winning actors Michael Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones along with their children Dylan, 10, and Carys, 7, fly over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and past Hogwarts Castle while riding Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando Resort on November 27, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Fans of the Harry Potter books and films, the family also sampled Butterbeer, got fitted for wands at Ollivanders and toured Hogwarts Castle while on vacation at Universal Orlando over the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Universal Studios via Getty Images) Matt Stroshane/Universal Studios via Getty Images

Michael Douglas And Catherine Zeta-Jones Visit Universal Studios Hollywood At Thanksgiving
Michael Douglas rides a roller coaster with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their kids at Universal Studios Hollywood this past Thanksgiving(Matt Stroshane/Universal Studios via Getty Images)


(CBS) Michael Douglas says he's cancer-free and feeling good following a six-month battle with stage 4 throat cancer. He underwent grueling rounds of radiation and chemotherapy last year.

"I think the odds are, with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer, that I've got it beat," the 66-year-old actor told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer this morning.

Douglas, the father of three, found out he had cancer last August after experiencing throat and ear pain. Throat pain that won't go away is one symptom of throat cancer. So are trouble swallowing and persistent hoarseness.

Approximately 100 Americans are diagnosed each day with oral cancer, which includes malignancies of the mouth, tongue, and throat. If the cancer is caught in its early stages, patients have an 80% to 90% chance at long-term survival. When the cancer is caught in later stages, the survival rate drops to 65% at five years from diagnosis, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Drinking and smoking are two of the main causes of throat cancer, and Douglas reportedly indulged in both. He also believes stress and diet could have played a role. He eats "like a pig," but mostly organic food, he told People. He needs to if he is to regain the 32 pounds he lost.

Weight loss is typical for throat cancer patients, who are generally tube or intravenously fed during treatment.

It's tough getting used to having a dry mouth all the time, Douglas told Lauer. "Salivary ducts have been closed down as a result of the radiation, probably for at least a year or two," he said. "So your mouth is very dry - particularly affects you at night - for sleeping."

What lies ahead? The Oscar winner is cautiously optimistic.

"I have to check out on a monthly basis now to maintain," he said. "I guess there's not a total euphoria."

MORE HEALTH CONTENT FROM CBS NEWS


  • Aina Hunter

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.