Michael Douglas Survives Throat Cancer
The star, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in the 1987 film "Wall Street," was first diagnosed with a throat tumor last August. After months of radiation therapy, however, doctors report that his tumor is gone.
"All of a sudden, the affection from my family, from my friends and from my fans hit me at a much deeper level than I would have ever imagined before," Douglas told Lauer in the interview.
Although the cancer is gone, Douglas still has more trials ahead. The radiation shut down his salivary ducts, and they are not expected to begin producing saliva again for another year or two. He also suffers from frequent fatigue.
He reports that he is feeling better, however, and will soon begin working again. He is slated to play the flamboyant musician Liberace in a biopic directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.
Douglas was not left unchanged by his ordeal, however. "It's definitely a third act," he said, "and so you're a little more conscious of your time and how you choose to spend it."
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 12,290 new cases of throat cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2009. Risk factors for the disease include smoking, alcohol abuse and work with carcinogenic chemicals.
People with throat cancer and their families can contact the American Head and Neck Society for resources and support.