For the first time since beginning his treatment for throat cancer, actor Michael Douglas is opening up about the fight for his life -- the fight the Hollywood legend is confident he'll win -- despite the cancer being at an advanced stage.
"I'm treating this as a curable disease," 65-year-old Douglas said in recent interview with People magazine appearing at People.com today. "I will do everything I can... It's a fight. I'll beat this."
Douglas spoke to People in his first print interview since his diagnosis two weeks ago in which a tumor the "size of a walnut" was discovered by a biopsy, People reported. Last week he began a strict regimen of treatment including radiation five days a week for eight weeks in addition to chemotherapy every three weeks.
"It really knocks you out," the Academy Award winner said.
Tuesday night Douglas appeared on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" and announced his cancer was advanced.
"[It's] intense and so they've got to go at it," he said.
Douglas said luckily the cancer has not spread to any other part of his body.
"The percentages are very good," he told Letterman, referring to survival rates. "I would hate to say, but right now, it looks like it should be 80 percent, and with certain hospitals and everything, it does improve."
The cause of the cancer, Douglas said, was likely earlier habits of drinking and smoking. Douglas said he knew something was wrong months before doctors detected the problem.
"Because I was on it early in the summer and started complaining about something, but they couldn't see it then," he told People.
When Letterman asked if the doctors had caught it in times, Douglas answered, "I sure as s**t hope so," to the audience laughter.
When news of the cancer discovery broke two weeks ago, Douglas put out a statement in which he said he was "very optimistic." That attitude has not waned according to wife and fellow movie star Catherine Zeta-Jones.
"He is handling this like he handles everything in life: with great dignity and courage and putting one foot in front of the other," Zeta-Jones told People.
The diagnosis came during a trying year for Douglas. In January, he watched his 31-year-old son Cameron plead guilty to drug dealing and possession.
Cameron, now serving a five-year sentence, heard about his father's cancer from another inmate, Douglas told People.
"He got blindsided, unfortunately," Douglas told People.
Then in June, Douglas was in court to battle his ex-wife who claimed she had rights to 50 percent of Douglas' earnings from the upcoming "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" film, opening later this month. The suit, Douglas said, "came out of left field."
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is a follow-up to 1987's blockbuster "Wall Street," in which Douglas played the now-iconic and Oscar-winning role of money man Gordon Gekko who preached the infamous mantra, "Greed is good."
CLICK HERE to learn more about throat cancer diagnosis and treatment from the National Cancer Institute.