Douglas A. Larsen, 60, a former newspaperman in Washington who later went into public relations and advertising, died in a hospital in Charlottesville, Va., Oct. 14 as a result of complications following surgery for cancer.

Mr. Larsen began his newspaper career on the Houston Chronicle in Houston in the early 1940s. During World War II, he moved to the Washington Daily News, a Scripps-Howard newspaper, and then worked for several years for the Newspaper Enterprise Association, another branch of Scripps-Howard.

In 1958, he joined the General Dynamics Corp, and worked in San Diego, Calif., as a public relations expert.

In 1962, he joined an advertising firm in New York and then became a vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance programs for the greater New York area.

In 1967, Mr. Larsen joined the Rockwell International corporation in Pittsburgh as director of marketing and communications. In 1970, the family returned to Washington when Mr. Larsen was named director of public relations for the firm's office here. He retired to Charlottesville in 1976.

Mr. Larsen was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan. He was a member of the Public Relations Society of America, a member of the Aviation and Space Writers Association, and was active in the American Cancer Society on Charlottesville.

Survivors include his wife, Mildred, of the home in Charlottesville; a son, Richard, of Washington; two daughters, Leigh Shaffer and Kathryn Larsen, of Tuscon, Ariz.; his mother, Alice Larsen, of Seal Beach, Calif.; and one granddaughter.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.