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Michael Douglas: Oral sex can cause throat cancer

Wednesday - 6/5/2013, 3:36pm  ET

FILE - Actor Michael Douglas poses for photographers as he arrives for the screening of Behind the Candelabra at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, in this May 21, 2013 file photo. The Guardian newspaper published an interview Monday, June 3, 2013, saying that Douglas attributed his throat cancer to the HPV virus from oral sex. A representative for Douglas now says the actor doesn't blame his throat cancer on oral sex. (AP Photo/David Azia, File)

MARIA CHENG
AP Medical Writer

LONDON (AP) -- Actor Michael Douglas taught the world at least one thing Monday: oral sex can sometimes cause cancer.

In an interview published in the Guardian newspaper, Douglas appeared to blame his own battle with throat cancer on oral sex -- although that interpretation was later disputed by one of his representatives.

The Guardian quoted Douglas as attributing his illness to the HPV virus spread through oral sex. When asked about his cancer, Douglas said, "without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV (human papillomavirus), which actually comes from cunnilingus."

In response, spokesman Allen Burry said Douglas never said oral sex was the cause of his own cancer, just one of the many causes.

"In a discussion with the newspaper, they talked about the causes of oral cancer, one of which was oral sex, which is noted and has been known for a while now," Burry said.

Health officials say smoking and drinking alcohol are the main causes of oral cancer, although the human papillomavirus has been linked to one kind of throat cancer. The human papillomavirus is mostly known for causing cervical cancer.

Douglas also told the Guardian he didn't regret his years of smoking and drinking.

A spokesman for the Guardian said in an email that the paper hadn't received any complaints about its interview either from Douglas or his representatives.

Douglas has starred in many movies -- including "Basic Instinct," ''Fatal Attraction" and "Wall Street" -- and is married to the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. He is currently appearing in a biopic about Liberace titled "Behind the Candelabra."

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AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle in New York contributed to this report.


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