Michael Douglas on Cancer: “Odds Are, I’ve Got It Beat”

 Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Michael Douglas is on the mend.

After undergoing a grueling bout of chemotherapy and radiation last year to battle a tumor found in his throat, the 66-year-old actor delivers some happy news to Matt Lauer in an interview airing Tuesday on The Today Show (and on Dateline NBC Jan. 23).

"I feel good, relieved. The tumor is gone," says Douglas, who has two young kids (Carys, 7, and Dillon, 10) with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and a grown son, Cameron, from a previous marriage.

Explains the Wall Street 2 star: "I think the odds are with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer that I've got it beat."

He's not completely out of the woods, however, he cautions: "I have to check out on a monthly basis now to maintain. I guess there's not a total euphoria. I'll probably take a couple of months of getting checked out. But it's been a wild six-month ride."

Douglas tells Lauer that he "lost about 32 pounds" during his battle. "I'm eating like a pig" and building up loss muscle mass via workouts, he says. "I've put about 12 [pounds] back."

Beating a life-threatening disease, he says, adds a "new depth" to his most important relationships.

"All of a sudden the affection from my family, from my friends, and from my fans hit me at a much deeper level than I would have ever imagined before," he says. "And it gave me a really new appreciation of just how valuable, how precious good friends are and family. And it's not that I disregarded them before but there's a much deeper feeling."

He continues: "I've talked to other cancer survivors about this…you just really, really appreciate what's important in life."

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