After revealing he had stage IV throat cancer last year, Michael Douglas spent most of 2010 undergoing radiation and chemotherapy to treat a tumor located on the base of his tongue. Yet, after announcing he was cancer free in January, it seems that his battle with cigarettes isn’t over despite a near brush with death likely caused by his smoking.
In a public interview with Matt Lauer that aired back in January, Michael Douglas revealed he had beaten his cancer and was optimistic about being cancer-free. “I think the odds are with the tumor gone,” Douglas, 66, says, “and what I know about this particular type of cancer is that I’ve got it beat.” During his yearlong battle with cancer, the Wall Street actor lost over 32 lbs. but luckily retained his greying mane despite the chemo. “I feel good and relieved. The tumor is gone. But, you know, I have to check out on a monthly basis now to maintain” says Douglas.
Recently published photos of Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta Jones vacationing in the Riviera show that the 66-year-old is struggling to keep his nicotine addiction under control. The actor was spotted smoking on numerous occasions while Catherine is also photographed walking around the streets of Italy, cigarette in hand. In fact, it was shortly after that European tour that Zeta Jones decided to do something about what nearly took the life of her husband. She has now been spotted around New York where she and Douglas, puffing on an electronic cigarette. According to reports, “she has really been enjoying electronic cigarettes and revealed that she wants to quit the habit of smoking” and she hopes to convince Michael to follow in her footsteps.
To many, the image of the couple smoking just seven months after Douglas returned to health may come as a something of a shock. However, statistics show it is not uncommon for people who develop cancer to continue smoking after diagnosis. A recent U.S. study by the Baptist Medical Center found that up to 18 per cent of lung cancer patients continue to smoke after discovering they have the illness. And around 25 per cent of family members also kept up the habit, despite having watched their loved one’s battle the condition. Researcher Kathryn E. Weaver says: ‘It just speaks to the incredible addictive power of nicotine.
Ms Weaver explained how some cancer patients continue to smoke, believing there is no point in quitting because the damage has already been done. However she said this was not the case, saying stopping smoking after being diagnosed has been linked to a prolonged survival. ‘One message we need to emphasize is that it’s never too late to quit,’ she added.