Award-winning actor Michael Douglas said he publicly lied about the type of cancer he had, as doctors had advised him to.
Douglas had a tumor on his tongue, not throat cancer as he previously said. He clarified his health issues to actor Samuel L. Jackson this week in a special series of interviews recognizing Male Cancer Week on England's ITV's "This Morning" Show.
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"This was right before I had to go on a big tour for 'Wall Street' so we kind of said there’s no way we can cancel the tour and say we don’t feel well ... You've got to tell them," he told Jackson during the ITV interview. "So you know, I said you've just got to come out and just tell them I've got cancer and that’s that.
"But, the surgeon said let’s just say it’s throat cancer. I said 'OK, you don’t want to say it's tongue cancer?' I said 'why’s that?' and he said 'well, if you really want to know why, if we do have to have surgery it’s not going to be pretty. You'll lose part of you jaw and your tongue and all of that stuff. So I said, 'OK sure.'"
While he thought about his movie career throughout the process, his health came first.
"(My career) crossed my mind but I wasn't going to worry about that until they told me I still had cancer when they finished all of this," Douglas said.
Douglas said he encouraged his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones to go on a golf junket with her family without him while he started cancer treatments.
He was very open with his children Dylan, 13, and Caryn, 10 about the cancer prognosis. Being honest and forthcoming with them protected them from wild tabloid headlines that suggested he was about to die, he said.
"The kids were great," Douglas said. "I thought the more they knew the better it was. What scares you is the not knowing."
Douglas won an Outstanding Actor Emmy award for his portrayal of entertainer Liberace in the HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra."
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