The Hollywood star has revealed he has Stage Four of the disease which has spread to his head and neck - but he's optimistic about his chances.
‘It's intense and so they've got to go at it. You'd like it to be down at Stage One but it's not,' he told David Letterman on America's Late Show.
‘I'm treating this as a curable disease. It's a fight. I'll beat this.'
Michael, 65, has completed the first week of two months' radiation and chemotherapy and says doctors have given him an 80% chance of surviving the cancer.
Despite experiencing ear and throat pain earlier this summer, it was not diagnosed until a walnut-sized tumour was discovered at the the base of his tongue.
‘It makes me furious they didn't detect it earlier,' wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, 40, tells People. ‘He sought every option and nothing was found.'
Michael and Catherine are parents to Carys, 7, and Dylan, 10.
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