Michael Douglas Opens Up to David Letterman About His Stage 4 Throat Cancer

Tonight, Michael Douglas visited the Late Show for a chat with David Letterman. Obviously, Douglas' recently diagnosed, Stage 4—80% chance of survival, he says—throat cancer (he began chemo and radiation this week) was the hot topic. Watch inside.

[Late Show with David Letterman]

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Stage 4 throat cancer at his age? 80% likelihood of recovery?

I'm sorry to say, but no. Here is what the literature says:

Throat cancers can be cured in 90% of patients if detected early. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes in the neck, 50 - 60% of patients can be cured. If the cancer has spread (metastasized) to parts of the body outside the head and neck, the cancer is not curable and treatment is aimed at prolonging and improving quality of life.

When someone says it is Stage Four, what they mean is it has spread to every quadrant of the body. It has metastasized.