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The Basic Instinct star Michael Douglas has revealed that his throat cancer was apparently caused by performing oral sex.

In a surprisingly frank interview with the Guardian, the Hollywood actor, now winning plaudits in the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, explained the background to a condition that was thought to be nearly fatal when diagnosed three years ago.

Asked whether he now regretted his years of smoking and drinking, thought to be the cause of the disease, Douglas replied: “No. Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”

Douglas, the husband of Catherine Zeta Jones, continued: “I did worry if the stress caused by my son’s incarceration didn’t help trigger it. But yeah, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer. And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”

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