Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Michael Douglas and "the vagina of death"...

I must admit, I saw the recent articles about Michael Douglas and his bout with throat cancer, but I pretty much ignored them.  Because I ignored the articles, I missed the initial hullabaloo about some comments he happened to make about how he contracted throat cancer.  Apparently, Douglas told a reporter for Britain's The Guardian that his particular cancer was caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), the very same virus that causes cervical cancer..  In other words, it sounded like Michael Douglas was blaming his cancer on oral sex, rather than his reportedly enthusiastic smoking and drinking habits.

Representatives for the actor have tried to "clarify" Douglas's comments about how he got throat cancer.  Based on the quotes I've read, it sure does sound to me like Douglas was talking about how he specifically got throat cancer.  But whether or not that was actually how he contracted it remains to be seen.  Dr. David Agus, an oncologist who appeared on CBS news, has said that HPV can be picked up in a number of different ways, not just sexually.  He says over 70,000 million people carry the virus.  The number of throat cancers caused by HPV number about 7,000-8,000 and it's actually more common in men than women.  Some of the strains of HPV associated with different types of cancers are more common than other strains.  Cervical cancer is notably linked to HPV, as are some lung cancers and head and neck cancers.  It is possible that Michael Douglas got throat cancer from cunnilingus, but there's no way to know that for sure.  Or maybe there is... but that's between Michael, his wife, and the medical professionals involved.

The doctor went on to sing the praises of the new HPV vaccine available to young people today.  I have to admit, if I were young enough, I would get it myself.  The anchors brought up the idea that the HPV vaccine might encourage young people to be more sexually active.  To that thought, I have to just shake my head.  With the big problems we have with teen pregnancy in this country, particularly in the Bible Belt, I really doubt the HPV vaccine is going to make the issue of teen sex any worse than it already is.  Dr. Agus also said that the data collected so far do not suggest that kids who have had the vaccine are having sex more often.  What he did say, however, is that getting the vaccine may prevent many types of cancer caused by HPV, including some lung cancers.  He also said that it's not quite accurate to blame the cancer on a single event like having oral sex with someone.

An old friend of mine posted a comment on an article about Michael Douglas, which brought it to my attention, and there a slew of other comments.  One person brought up Douglas's wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, referring to her as a narcissist and saying she's probably proud she has the "vagina of death".  I have to admit, that comment-- crass as it really is-- made me chuckle.  On the other hand, I don't know that much about Catherine Zeta-Jones and have no idea if she's a narcissist or if, in fact, she happens to have a "vagina of death".  But that comment did kind of remind me of a piece of art we saw in a museum in Glasgow, Scotland...

The Womb With A View...

I'm definitely not one of those people who are against vaccines.  I don't want to say that people have no right to refuse vaccines, but I personally don't have issues with them.  I don't see having girls get the HPV vaccine as a misogynistic statement about society viewing females as the cause of death and disease.  

Another person on that Facebook thread about Michael Douglas said getting cancer from cunnilingus was better than getting it from smoking.  I dunno about that, either, since I've never made a habit of participating in either act.  Seems to me both activities have the potential to stink.

Anyway, it's nice to know that Michael Douglas apparently enjoys oral sex... presumably with his wife.  I'm sure his very frank comments about how HPV is spread and the implication that he might have picked up cancer from oral sex have caused her some embarrassment... even though Dr. Agus assures us that most of us are exposed to HPV at some point in our lives and not necessarily through sexual contact.      

It'll be interesting to see if any more comments about this case come out...  (heh heh... I said "come")   

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