Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Big C; HEALTHAs Actor Michael Douglas Claims Cunnilingus Gave Him Throat Cancer, Will Oral Sex Ever Feel Safe Again? Jasmine Gardner Dispels the Myths and Dangers about Going Down

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Big C; HEALTHAs Actor Michael Douglas Claims Cunnilingus Gave Him Throat Cancer, Will Oral Sex Ever Feel Safe Again? Jasmine Gardner Dispels the Myths and Dangers about Going Down

Article excerpt

Byline: Jasmine Gardner

Jasmine Gardner MICHAEL Douglas said the C word. In fact, he said two C words, and neither is the one you're thinking of. First he said cancer, then cunnilingus. What? No woman wants to see those two words anywhere near the same sentence. Well, Douglas is two years recovered from throat cancer. If you missed it, in an interview published yesterday in the Guardian, he said, "this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus".

HPV, or the Human Papilloma Virus, is the infection of which various strains can lead to cervical cancer and London's second most common sexually transmitted infection -- genital warts. Douglas is right, it can also increase the risk of oral cancers. "It's not possible to say with certainty that a particular cancer has a single cause," says Cancer Research UK's head of health information, Hazel Nunn, although she does confirm tumours can be tested for the presence of HPV.

Cancer is, of course, no laughing matter. But the fact that an old man talked indirectly about vaginas in an interview got a lot of people tweeting. "If your tweets aren't about Michael Douglas and this whole dangerous pussy situation I'm just not interested," tweeted Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO comedy Girls. Writer Alex Baze said, "Thanks, Michael Douglas, for ruining the ONLY time I'm not worrying about cancer."

Although smoking and drinking are still top causes of oral cancers, HPV is also behind it. There are now 6,500 cases of oral cancer a year compared with 4,400 annually 10 years ago.

Smoking is on the decrease but Cancer Research reckons just because smoking is going down there is no solid evidence that we are also going down more often.

Comedian Frankie Boyle pointed out that Douglas was also a smoker and tweeted, "I'm worried these Michael Douglas revelations mean they're going to ban cunnilingus in pubs."

Of course, if boys decide to believe Girls (the TV show), in which Shoshana tells Hannah, who has just tested positive for HPV, that "Jessa has HPV, like a couple of different strains of it. …

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