Michael Douglas says can't forget being told of cancer

LOS ANGELES Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:00am EDT

Actor Michael Douglas speaks at the ceremony for the 25th American Cinematheque Award in Beverly Hills, October 14, 2011.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actor Michael Douglas speaks at the ceremony for the 25th American Cinematheque Award in Beverly Hills, October 14, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Veteran actor Michael Douglas said in a recent interview with Alec Baldwin that he will never forget when he was first told he had late-stage throat cancer in 2010.

The 66-year-old "Fatal Attraction" actor, who was diagnosed with the disease in August, underwent radiation treatment and chemotherapy and in January 2011, announced the tumor was gone. But five months earlier, the story was different.

"I'll never forget that moment when he (the doctor) looked up at me and looked back down. I knew, and he said 'Well, I guess we're going to have to take a biopsy, see there's a polyp here,' it was on my tongue. Two days later, he called me back and said 'you've got cancer,'" Douglas told Baldwin in a podcast posted earlier this week for New York public radio station WNYC.

Douglas said that just after filming "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" his throat felt "a little sore," but he thought it was from the stress of portraying financier Gordon Gekko, the role that earned him an Oscar in 1987's "Wall Street."

"I thought maybe it was from tension, from the part, where you haven't placed your voice, where you're swallowing your words and you speak from the back of your throat," he said. "I had a little bit of a sore gum and so I saw doctors."

He underwent seven weeks of treatments that cleared the cancer and now he has this advice for others: "the thing with cancer is that you want to get it as early as you can."

Douglas also touched on coming to terms with his eldest son Cameron's history of drug abuse and his jail sentence in 2010 for dealing methamphetamine and cocaine and possessing heroin.

"I think as far as drug addiction, your peer group plays a huge part of that," said Douglas. "In my oldest son's case, there was no end, until he was incarcerated."

After taking time to recover from cancer treatments, Douglas will next be seen in the title role of "Liberace," a film based on the life of the famous American pianist with Matt Damon playing his on-screen lover.

"Liberace was a lovely guy," said the actor. "I haven't played a lot of nice guys."

(Reporting and Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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