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Michael Douglas Thinks His Lifestyle Led to Cancer

AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mike Nichols
38th Annual AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mike Nichols.Sony Studios, Culver City, CA. (Bauer Griffin)more pics »Michael Douglas (Bauer Griffin)As he opens up about his battle with the deadly disease, Michael Douglas says that he believes his throat cancer was caused by drinking alcohol.

The Oscar-winning actor -- who has two children Dylan, 10, and seven-year-old Carys with wife Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as 31-year-old Cameron with former spouse Diandra -- admits his lifestyle has contributed to him contracting the disease, which he says is at an “advanced state."

He said: "I've got cancer. I found out about three weeks ago. It's throat cancer. I smoked cigarettes and I drank and this particular type of cancer is caused by alcohol drinking."

The 65-year-old star has begun grueling radiotherapy and chemotherapy and remains optimistic about his chances of beating the disease -- which is at stage four -- as it hasn’t spread to anywhere else in his body.

He told talk show host David Letterman: “It's intense, and so they've got to go at it. You’d like to be down at stage one, but it has not, the big thing you're always worried about is it spreading, I am head and neck, nothing's gone down, and the expectations are good. I would hate to say, but right now, it looks like it should be 80 percent and, with certain hospitals and everything, it does improve."

The actor has also revealed his dad Kirk Douglas joked he should make sure he looked good for his TV appearance.

He said: "I’m on stage. As Kirk would say, 'Son, you gotta look good. You'd never know we might have cancer.'"

However, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps star admits he is in pain from the treatment.

He added: “It hurts, it comes and goes in waves. It knocks you out really hard.”

Despite the struggle, Douglas is determined to overcome the disease. He recently told People magazine: "I'll beat this."

While doctors expect the Oscar-winning actor to make a full recovery, medical experts have warned he may never act again, as the aggressive combination of radiation and chemotherapy could result in him losing his voice.

Dr. Lawrence Tena, a physician in the department of radiation and oncology at the Beth Israel Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York City, recently explained: "When a patient is getting radiation and chemotherapy combined, they typically have an advanced stage of cancer. Sixty to 70 percent of patients, even with advanced cancers, survive."

However if the procedures fail to work, Michael will have to undergo a full or partial laryngectomy, which could leave him with a changed voice, or even no voice at all.

See more Michael Douglas pictures (click any photo):
  • Michael Douglas in AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mike Nichols
  • Michael Douglas in AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mike Nichols
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