Cancer Survivor Sends Message to Michael Douglas

As Michael Douglas fights for his life against stage 4 throat cancer, INSIDE EDITION talks to one survivor of the same type of cancer who sends a message of hope to the ailing star.

A heartfelt message for cancer-stricken Michael Douglas, from someone who knows exactly what he's going through.

Denise DeSimone was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer in 2005. Just like Douglas, she had a tumor on the base of her tongue.

"I have some advice and some love to share with him," said DeSimone.

INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent asked, "What words of advice would you have for Michael Douglas?"

"It's really important for him to take advantage of this time. It may allow him a time to settle down and come into a quiet space," said DeSimone.

Douglas just finished his first week of chemo-therapy and radiation treatment with an immobilization face mask. Denise knows what's that like.

"For someone who is claustrophobic, it can be pretty daunting. Its challenging. Its very scary and it's very uncomfortable," said DeSimone.

Denise says the Oscar® winner may soon experience some very uncomfortable side effects.

Trent asked, "What might he be going through this week?"

"I lost my voice. My ability to sing to speak. I wasn't able to eat for many months. All of a sudden, he will lose all taste. He won't be able to eat because its like chewing on leather," said DeSimone.

Some are now asking if Douglas is putting his life in jeopardy to salvage his career.

During his appearance on Letterman, the star indicated that he wasn't having surgery to remove the tumor in his throat, so he could save his famous face and voice.

The Today Show's Dr. Nancy Snyderman says by skipping surgery, Douglas may be passing up on the most effective and aggressive form of treatment.

"The treatment many times is surgery first. If the patient says 'No I don't want the surgery' because frankly it's too disfiguring and can impair the voice, then chemo-therapy and radiation as second and third choice," said Snyderman on the Today Show.

Denise DeSimone, who was initially told she had just three months to live, has now been cancer free for five years. As Douglas fights for his life, she says the most important thing to do is to stay positive and not be afraid.

"Love and fear cannot co-exist, so always opt for love," said DeSimone.