Michael Douglas: ‘Throat cancer’ was really tongue cancer

Story highlights

Actor Michael Douglas says he hid his tongue cancer at his doctor's urging

Treatment can come with disfiguring surgery to remove the tongue or part of the jaw

The CDC estimates only half of those diagnosed with oral cancer survive

CNN  — 

Michael Douglas never had throat cancer, as he told the press in 2010.

The actor now says he had tongue cancer. Douglas said he hid the diagnosis at the urging of his doctor to protect his career.

“The surgeon said, ‘Let’s just say it’s throat cancer,’ ” Douglas told fellow actor Samuel L. Jackson for a segment that ran on British television as a part of Male Cancer Awareness Week.

Douglas says that the doctor told him if they had to do surgery for tongue cancer, “it’s not going to be pretty. You could lose part of your tongue and jaw.”

When Douglas first talked about his cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2010, he was on a worldwide publicity tour for the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”