The 57 year old actor, well known for his successful roles in Batman and Top Gun, had repeatedly denied claims of cancer after friend and colleague, Michael Douglas, spilled the beans in an interview last year. However, this week, in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Val Kilmer answered a fan’s question about Michael Douglas’s statement saying, “He was probably trying to help me cause press probably asked where I was these days, and I did have a healing of cancer, but my tongue is still swollen altho healing all the time.”
In early 2015, Val Kilmer was allegedly hospitalized for a “bleeding of his throat”. His rep released a statement saying the actor was being evaluated for a “possible tumor”, but later that month Val Kilmer denied the rep’s statement and told fans on Facebook he had a complication for which he was being treated.
In late 2015 the actor was seen with a tracheostomy tube. These tubes are placed after a tracheotomy, an opening of the windpipe to allow air to get through the lungs, bypassing the throat. The tube was removed and a month later Val Kilmer posted a picture on Facebook, smiling and looking well. Again he denied having cancer.
Although not common, The National Cancer Institute estimates 1.1 percent of adults will be diagnosed with pharyngeal cancer within their lifetime. Erin Moran, the Happy Days actress, recently died from stage 4 throat cancer. Multiple famous people have battled throat cancer including
Sammy Davis Jr., age 64
Michael Crichton, suspected throat cancer, age 66
President Ulysses S. Grant, suspected throat vs. esophageal cancer, age 63
Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island), age 70
Carl Perkins, age 75
Throat cancer can involve the base of the tongue, the nasopharyx (connecting to the back of the nose), the oropharynx (throat), the tonsils, and/or the hypopharyx behind the larynx (voice box). It is often diagnosed in its later stages since early symptoms mimic common medical complaints such as sore throat, hoarseness or a continual need to clear one’s throat. These symptoms, if not resolving, should be evaluated for throat cancer as well as any weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, inability to swallow, and/or a change in voice.
Smoking, alcohol, and HPV infection have been linked to causing throat cancer. The earlier its diagnosed, the better the prognosis. It can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Michael Douglas states he was treated with chemo and radiation and by 2011 was in remission. He was very fortunate and early intervention is key.
For more information on throat cancer, read here: https://doctordaliah.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/erin-moran-had-been-battling-stage-4-throat-cancer-your-questions-answered/