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Catherine Zeta-Jones: 'I was a mess' about Michael Douglas' cancer

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Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones discussed his cancer in front of a doctors' conference.

Michael Douglas is once again opening up about his battle with cancer.

Speaking in front of 3,000 doctors at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies' 5th World Congress event in New York on Sunday, the 69-year-old actor got candid while talking about being misdiagnosed three times before his 2010 throat cancer diagnosis. 

"Generally when I'm on a stage at a prestige event like this I'm accepting some kind of an award," Douglas said from the stage.

"As long as nobody tells me to bend over and touch my toes and cough we're all going to be just fine," he added. "In all seriousness and in every sense of the word, I'm very fortunate to be here today."

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"I'm very happy to be here this morning with my husband," Douglas' wife Catherine Zeta-Jones later said. "I mean that literally. I'm very happy to be here with my husband."

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    Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images North America

    Image: Marvel's Hall H Panel For "Ant-Man"

    Michael Douglas

    Born into Hollywood royalty, the actor’s resume includes “Streets of San Francisco,” “Wall Street,” “Fatal Attraction” and more.

  • Image: Marvel's Hall H Panel For "Ant-Man"

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    The ants go marching -

    Michael Douglas waves to the crowd during the"Ant-Man" panel during Comic-Con International 2014 at San Diego Convention Center on July 26, 2014 in San Diego, California. Douglas plays Dr. Hank Pym, who invents the Ant-Man technology and takes on the role until passing it down to Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: "And So It Goes" East Hampton Premiere

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    Famous faces -

    Douglas, Diane Keaton, and Rob Reiner attend the "And So It Goes" premiere at Guild Hall on July 6, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. Douglas and Keaton star in the romantic comedy, and Reiner directed.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Tickling the ivories -

    Douglas stars as Liberace in "Behind the Candelabra," and won an Emmy for his role in the 2013 HBO film.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Michael Douglas poses backstage with the award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie for his role in "Behind the Candelabra" at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills

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    Golden night -

    Douglas poses with the Golden Globe award he won for best actor in a miniseries or TV movie for his role in "Behind the Candelabra" at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 12, 2014. The film also won the best miniseries or TV movie award.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: SBIFF's 2011 Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film

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    Two generations -

    Douglas poses with his dad, acclaimed actor Kirk Douglas, at a 2011 event honoring the younger Douglas with an award named for his father. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has given out the Kitk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film since 2006.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones

    Michael Douglas

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    Fashionable faces -

    Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones attend the Michael Kors Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 in New York.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Practice Round

    Michael Douglas

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    Fore! -

    Douglas on the practice range during the first practice round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course on September 27, 2011 in St Andrews, Scotland.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: 68th Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

    Michael Douglas

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    On the mend -

    Douglas gives a thumbs-up as he arrives with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, for the 68th Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. The veteran actor, who finished treatment for throat cancer in late 2010, said at the awards that he's cancer-free and feeling great.

    EPA / EPA
  • Image: Academy award-winning actors Douglas and wife Zeta-Jones, along with their children ride over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and past Hogwarts Castle at Universal Orlando Resort

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    Wild about wizards -

    Douglas and Zeta-Jones, along with their children Dylan, 10, and Carys, 7, ride the Flight of the Hippogriff over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and past Hogwarts Castle at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida on Nov. 27, 2010. The family visited the theme park over the Thanksgiving holiday as Douglas continued to recover from cancer treatment.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In New York City - November 9, 2010

    Michael Douglas

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    Dad's duty -

    Douglas is seen in New York as he takes his daughter to school on Nov. 9, 2010. One month removed from radiation and chemotherapy treatments to combat his stage IV throat cancer, the multiple Oscar winner believes he's on the mend.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Carey Mulligan, Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon

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    Leading man -

    Douglas, center, poses with actresses Carey Mulligan, left, and Susan Sarandon at the premiere of "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on Monday, Sept. 20, 2010.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf

    Michael Douglas

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    Gordon Gekko is back -

    Douglas brought back one of his most iconic characters, Wall Street financier Gordon Gekko, in 2010's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Douglas won a best actor Oscar for his role in the original 1987 film, in which Charlie Sheen played a young stockbroker who aspires to be like Gekko. In the sequel, Shia LaBeouf plays the fiance of Gekko's daughter who strikes a deal with the mogul.

    20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox
  • Image: Michael Douglas

    Michael Douglas

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    Battle lines are drawn -

    Douglas waves to the "Late Show" audience after a hug from host David Letterman during the Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010, taping of the show in New York. Douglas said he faces an "eight-week struggle" of radiation and chemotherapy in his fight against throat cancer but is optimistic about his chances for recovery.

    CBS via AP / CBS via AP
  • Image: Catherine Zeta Jones

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    Kicking up fun -

    Douglas, right, speaks with Kyle Beere, age 13, and his uncle Andrew Wools from Cardiff, Wales, during a visit to the Children's Hospital for Wales in Cardiff, where Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones met staff and children on Friday, July 23, 2010. Zeta-Jones was born in Wales.

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    Family woes -

    Douglas is seen here in April 2009 with his son, Cameron. On April 20, 2010, Cameron Douglas was sentenced to five years in prison for possessing heroin and dealing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine out of a New York hotel room. Michael Douglas publicly assumed blame for "being a bad father" but said he was thrilled his son was in prison, because without such an extreme level of intervention "he was going to be dead or somebody was gonna kill him."

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  • Michael Douglas

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    In 'Solitary' -

    Douglas took on a serious role in 2010's "Solitary Man," playing a car dealer whose life suddenly falls apart.

    Millennium Films / Millennium Films
  • Michael Douglas

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    Gold in them thar ... Costcos? -

    In 2007's "King of California," Douglas played a man who was convinced that the San Fernando Valley holds buried treasure. When he's released from a mental institution, he convinces his daughter to go hunting for it with him -- underneath the floor of a Costco store.

    First Look Pictures / First Look Pictures
  • Michael Douglas

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    Goofy guest -

    Douglas played Kate Hudson's doting father in 2006's "You, Me and Dupree," with Owen Wilson as a houseguest who overstays his welcome.

    Universal Pictures / Universal Pictures
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    Michael Douglas

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    Like father, like son -

    Michael, left, and Kirk Douglas pose for a portrait in Los Angeles on April 12, 2005. The documentary film "A Father, A Son: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" profiles the two actors and their relationship.

    HBO via AP / HBO via AP
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    Michael Douglas

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    Honored in Switzerland -

    Douglas received the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday Jan. 28, 2006. The Crystal Award is presented by the forum to artists who use their work to reach out to other cultures.

    AP / AP
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    Family affair -

    Kirk, Michael and Cameron Douglas all played roles in 2003's "It Runs in the Family," a comedy about the problems of three generations of a wealthy New York group.

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  • Image: (FILES) Actors Michael Douglas (L) and h

    Michael Douglas

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    May-December? -

    Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, seen here with him in 2003, are exactly 25 years apart. He was born Sept. 25, 1944, and she was born Sept. 25, 1969. Zeta-Jones says that when they met, Douglas told her "I want to father your children." They now have two, Dylan Michael and Carys Zeta.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Michael Douglas

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    Magic number -

    Douglas starred with the late Brittany Murphy in 2001's "Don't Say a Word." He plays a psychiatrist who must somehow retrieve a six-digit number from Murphy's character's mind in order to save his own daughter's life.

    20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox
  • Michael Douglas

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    Full of 'Wonder' -

    In 2000, Douglas starred in "Wonder Boys," playing a professor and novelist who finds his life veering towards disaster.

    Paramount Pictures / Paramount Pictures
  • Michael Douglas

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    Stopping 'Traffic' -

    Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones were among the stars of the 2000 film "Traffic," which won four Oscars and was made into a television miniseries.

    20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox
  • Michael Douglas

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    'Perfect' crime -

    In 1998's "A Perfect Murder," Douglas plays a rich older man who discovers his wife (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is cheating on him, and seeks revenge.

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures
  • US actor Michael Douglas (C) has his footprints pl

    Michael Douglas

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    In dad's footsteps -

    In 1997, Michael Douglas had his footprints placed in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. His father, Kirk Douglas, stands behind his son. The older Douglas had his own hand and footprint ceremony in 1962.

    AFP/Getty Images / AFP/Getty Images
  • Michael Douglas

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    Kings of the jungle -

    Douglas and Val Kilmer starred in 1996's "The Ghost and the Darkness," about lions that attacked workers on an African railway in 1898. Reviews were mixed -- while the film won one Oscar (for sound editing), it also earned a Razzie Award nomination for Kilmer.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Michael Douglas

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    Mr. President -

    In 1995's "The American President," Douglas played a U.S. president who falls in love with a lobbyist played by Annette Bening.

    Sony Pictures / Sony Pictures
  • Michael Douglas

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    Working world -

    In 1994's "Disclosure," based on a Michael Crichton novel, Douglas and Demi Moore star as executives with a prior relationship who become embroiled in a sexual harassment case.

    Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.
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    Pure 'Instinct' -

    Douglas and Sharon Stone star in 1992's "Basic Instinct," which became infamous for a scene in which Stone's character flashes detectives during her interrogation.

    Sony Pictures / Sony Pictures
  • Michael Douglas

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    Not so rosy -

    "The War of the Roses" has become a synonym for a troubled and protracted divorce. In the 1989 film, Danny DeVito plays a divorce lawyer who tells a client the story of a couple, played by Douglas and Kathleen Turner, who fight a deadly battle to end their marriage.

    20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox
  • Michael Douglas

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    Greed is good -

    Douglas first played Gordon Gekko in 1987's "Wall Street," in which his millionaire character takes up-and-coming stockbroker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) under his wing and shows him how to make big money. The film, and Gekko in particular, later came to symbolize the go-go 1980s.

    20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox
  • Michael Douglas

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    I won't be ignored, Dan -

    Like "Wall Street" and "The War of the Roses," 1987's "Fatal Attraction" has passed into the English language. The phrase has come to refer to a romantic relationship where one partner refuses to admit things are over. Douglas played a married man who has a fling with Glenn Close's character, who begins stalking him and his family -- including in one infamous scene, the family bunny rabbit.

    Paramount Pictures / Paramount Pictures
  • 1986 SOUL

    Michael Douglas

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    Marry in haste... -

    Douglas married his first wife, Diandra, in 1977 after dating just six weeks. They divorced in 2000. Their son, Cameron, was sentenced to five years in prison on drug charges in April 2010.

    WireImage / WireImage
  • Michael Douglas

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    'Stone' cold -

    Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito, who would later reunite in "The War of the Roses," also starred together in 1984's "Romancing the Stone." The film was written by Diane Thomas, a waitress who died just six weeks before the film's sequel was released in 1985. Thomas died in a Porsche that Michael Douglas had purchased for her, although she was not driving.

    20th Centurty Fox / 20th Centurty Fox
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    Digging a hole to 'China' -

    Jack Lemmon, Douglas and Jane Fonda star in 1979's "The China Syndrome," about journalists who discover safety issues at a nuclear power plant. The film's title comes from the concept that a nuclear plant's core could melt through the earth and reach China. Twelve days after the film's release, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred in Pennsylvania.

    MGM / MGM
  • Movie Poster For 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'

    Michael Douglas

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    One flew East... -

    Douglas won an Oscar for his work as producer on 1975's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." The film swept the major categories at the Oscars that year, winning for best picture, director, actor, actress and adapted screenplay.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • KARL MALDEN, MICHAEL DOUGLAS

    Michael Douglas

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    On the 'Streets' -

    Before striking it big in movies, Douglas was a small-screen star. He starred with Karl Malden in the 1970s police drama "The Streets of San Francisco."

    ABC / ABC
  • Michael Douglas

    Michael Douglas

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    Just starting out -

    Douglas played his first starring role in 1969's "Hail, Hero!" He was nominated for a Golden Globe for most promising male newcomer for his role as a college student who joins the army during the Vietnam War.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Kirk And Sons

    Michael Douglas

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    Hollywood family -

    Douglas was born into Hollywood royalty, the son of legendary cleft-chinned actor Kirk Douglas, shown here with Michael, right, and younger son Joel, who worked as a producer during the 1970s and 1980s. The boys' mother, Diana Dill, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1943. Reportedly Kirk Douglas, then serving in the navy during World War II, saw the cover photo and told his shipmates he would marry her. They divorced in 1951.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

The actress added of Douglas' cancer diagnosis, "I was a mess. I'll be quite frank, I was a mess ... When I'm married to a man who has such a conviction for life ... he fights to make the wrongs right."

PHOTOS: Celeb cancer survivors 

As for the future of oncology, Douglas concluded, "We can only imagine what the next century will bring. Thank you for saving my life."


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