Michael Cane ‘would have been dead’ by now if he continued binge drinking and smoking


In 2018, the two-time Oscar winner broke his ankle, but that’s not why he needs assistance walking around. “I have a spine problem,” Sir Caine, 89, revealed to BBC Radio Two presenter Mark Kermode in 2022, adding that it affects his leg, meaning he “can’t walk very well”. His wife, Shakira, told the Daily Mail: “He had a back operation quite recently. He had spinal stenosis.”

What is spinal stenosis?

The Mayo Clinic explains: “Spinal stenosis happens when the space inside the backbone is too small.

“This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine.”

People who have the condition can experience pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness, which can worsen over time.

What causes spinal stenosis?

The most common cause is wear and tear related to arthritis, and while surgery can help to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, it can’t cure arthritis.

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“Arthritis pain in the spine may continue,” the Mayo Clinic adds.

Grateful to still be alive and mobile, Caine credits his wife for his long life.

In a candid interview with The Sun On Sunday, in 2017, said: “Without her, I’d have been dead long ago.

“I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day and smoke several packs of cigarettes.”


Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, two known carcinogens, increase a person’s risk of cancer.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elaborates: “When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde.

“Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage.”

Damaged DNA could replicate more and more, without stopping, which is the basis for a cancerous tumour.

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As for smoking, the CDC adds: “Poisons in tobacco smoke can damage or change a cell’s DNA.”

Moreover, smoking “can weaken the body’s immune system, making it harder to kill cancer cells”.

Cancer Research UK states: “The link between smoking and cancer is very clear. It causes at least 15 different types of cancer.”

These facts remain at the forefront of Sir Caine’s mind, who admitted: “I know my days are numbered… I’m always looking up what’s the best thing against cancer.”

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Protection against cancer

There are ways to reduce your risk of developing cancer, Cancer Research UK assures.

Factors that could help minimise cancer risk includes:

  • Being physically active
  • Eating and drinking healthily
  • Being a non-smoker
  • Having a healthy weight
  • Drinking no alcohol
  • Staying safe in the sun.

Anybody concerned about any unusual symptoms they are experiencing are encouraged to see their doctor.

Michael Cane starred in the film Funeral In Berlin, which is airing on Saturday, March 11 on BBC Two at 4.05pm.



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