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Michael Douglas: Cancer-free?

January 12, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
  • Michael Douglas says his stage IV throat cancer tumor is gone.
Michael Douglas says his stage IV throat cancer tumor is gone. (Valery Hache / AFP/Getty…)

After half a year of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, his throat cancer tumor is gone, actor Michael Douglas said Tuesday on the "Today" show.

That's great news for Douglas, who told David Letterman on Aug. 31 that his throat cancer had progressed to stage IV before it was identified, lurking at the base of his tongue. (Stage IV is pretty bad, because the cancer has typically begun spreading to other parts of the body.)
Although throat cancer has been linked to genetics, Douglas said he's swearing off tobacco and most alcohol -- barring the occasional glass of wine. In the meantime, he's working on regaining the 32 pounds he lost during the ordeal (12 down, 20 to go).  

As for whether the cancer is gone for good, three years is considered the benchmark past which patients can be relatively certain they're cancer-free, experts say.

For further reading, here's the Mayo Clinic's primer on throat cancer, and a few tips on identifying it.

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