Oral sex and cancer: could they be related?

Oral sex and cancer: could they be related?

(WTVM) - A startling revelation from Michael Douglas has many people talking.

The actor claims his throat cancer was caused by a virus he contracted by performing oral sex on women.

You may remember the actor from his many movies, including "Basic Instinct" and "Fatal Attraction," and he is currently appearing in the biopic about Liberace.

But it's what he's saying off the big screen that is shocking people.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Douglas said his cancer had been caused by contracting the human papillomavirus or HPV, a sexually transmitted disease.

The 68-year-old was diagnosed in 2010 and has been cancer-free for more than two years after receiving extensive chemotherapy.

Dr. Kendall Handy, chief of OB-GYN at Columbus Regional, says HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. and anyone having sex-- genital or oral – can be at risk.

Most doctors say it's difficult to pinpoint a single cause Douglas's throat cancer since he had also been a smoker and a drinker, two of the common causes of oral cancer.

Doctor handy says there is an HPV vaccine and its recommended for ages nine to 26 to prevent getting the virus.

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