"This was right before I had to go on a big tour for Wall Street 4 so we kinda said there's no way we can cancel the tour and say we don't feel well," the 69-year-old said. "You gotta tell them, so you know, I said you just gotta come out and just tell them I've got cancer and that's that."
"But, the surgeon said let's just say it's throat cancer. I said 'OK, you don't want to say it's tongue cancer, why's that?' and he said 'well, if you really wanna know why, if we do have to have surgery it's not gonna be pretty.
"You'll lose part of your jaw and your tongue and all of that stuff. So I said, 'OK sure'."
The Hollywood actor spoke to fellow thespian Samuel L Jackson about how he felt when he found out he had the disease on Thursday's This Morning show.
"I will never forget it... I had an inkling... particularly when I saw the look on his face when he pushed my tongue down. It kind of all rushes over you, you get a little numb, very numb."
A further blow came for the father-of-three when he discovered the severity of his cancer when he was diagnosed in August 2010.
"I said ‘Stage four?’...And that's where I got a little scared," he confessed.
On a special Male Cancer Awareness Week episode of the show in association with One for the Boys, the Oscar-winning actor talked about how the diagnosis affected his children.
"The kids were great. They saw me have the radiation. I found the more they knew the better it was, what scares you is not knowing," he explained.
"I looked pretty weird and I lost a lot of weight and I sat my kids down when there was some stupid tabloid stories and I said 'guys, I want you to know in case you hear at school that their might me stories coming out about your mummy and I...' and my thirteen-year-old son Dylan said 'you mean like the story when you had three weeks to live, Dad'? And I said 'yeah, like that one Dylan!'"
Michael also spoke about his current health.
"I was having checks every three months, then you go to six months, and just before I got here I had my last check up and I passed two years and I'm clean. And with my type of cancer if you're clean after two years, there's a 95 percent chance of it not coming back."
The Behind The Candelabra star made his message clear to other men.
"Guys... you look at your body every day, you know every mole and everything that's there. If you see something that looks a little strange or you feel a bump somewhere, check it out. Please.
"I made that mistake and I don't want to see you do it."