Michael Douglas Gets Two Emmy Nods for 'The Kominsky Method'
- Michael Dougls was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work as a man battling cancer in ‘The Kominsky Method’.
- Douglas, 76, has been cancer-free for a decade after being diagnosed with stage IV tongue cancer in 2010.
- Tongue cancer can be difficult to detect, and Douglas said that he had been visiting specialists for nine months prior to his eventual diagnosis.
Douglas was one of the few people to score multiple nominations this year, starting with an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series nod for his work as Sandy Kominsky, an aging acting coach.Read More
View this post on Instagram
This is the third-straight acting nomination and second-straight series nod Douglas has received for The Kominsky Method. The two-time Oscar winner has racked up a total of 10 Emmy nominations over the course of his career. He has previously won just once though, taking home the prize for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie in 2013 for his work as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra.
Michael Douglas’ Oral Cancer Battle
Douglas announced in 2010 that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, and after aggressive chemotherapy and radiation he was declared cancer-free early the next year.
Then, during a 2013 interview with fellow actor Samuel L. Jackson, Douglas revealed that he had actually been diagnosed with tongue cancer.
"This was right before I had a big tour for Wall Street, so we said, 'There's no way we can cancel the tour and say we don't feel well,’" said Douglas while explaining the motivation to lie about his diagnosis. "I said, 'You've just got to come out and just tell them I've got cancer and that's it.’"
Douglas revealed that is when the surgeon said: “Let's just say it's throat cancer.”
The actor, 76, said that the major concern was that given the size of the tumor and advanced stage of the cancer, it seemed likely that he would require surgery to remove parts of his jaw and tongue. Fearing this would result in countless questions about his prognosis and misleading reports about possible disfigurement as he promoted his new film, it was decided that the truth would stay hidden for some time.
Douglas complained of symptoms for close to a year before being diagnosed with cancer. He said that American specialists kept insisting he was simply dealing with an infection at the time.
Then, while spending time at his summer home in Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant, Douglas visited a McGill University teaching hospital where a doctor located the lump at the back of his throat. Soon after, a biopsy revealed that the actor had stage IV cancer.
“I felt something nine months earlier and brought it to the attention of my doctors,” Douglas told The Globe and Mail while hosting a 2013 fundraiser for McGill. “So there was frustration involved, to say the least.”
Understanding Oral Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 50,000 new cases of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer will be diagnosed each year. Oropharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck or throat cancer that's most commonly associated with HPV. This type of cancer is far more common in men than in women and the incidence has been increasing over time.
Douglas initially said that his cancer was caused by engaging in oral sex, which could have led him to contract HPV, a sexually-transmitted disease. Douglas later said that years of alcohol abuse and heavy smoking were likely to blame for his cancer, along with stress.
Unlike other cancers, there are no approved screenings for throat cancer. There are, however, signs to look out for to determine whether or not to consult a doctor. Vocal changes, coughing, trouble swallowing, ear pain, unexplained weight loss, and a lump or sore in the throat that won’t heal are all symptoms of oral cancer.
What is HPV and How Does it Cause Tongue Cancer?
HPV infects close to 80 percent of people who are sexually active at some point in their life. Most of the time, the body's immune system naturally clears the HPV on its own. As a result, many do not experience any health problems of symptoms that might alert them to the presence of the virus.
Approximately 15% those infected with HPV contract a "high-risk" strain. In those cases, the virus tends to stay in the body for a longer period of time. The virus is then able to start modify the DNA, which in turn causes cellular mutations that can cause cancer.