Ben Stiller has revealed that he was previously diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Ben, 50, wrote an article for Medium to tell his unheard story, and to draw attention to a test which detected his cancer early enough to save his life.
‘I got diagnosed with prostate cancer Friday, June 13th, 2014. On September 17th of that year I got a test back telling me I was cancer free.’
‘The three months in between were a crazy roller coaster ride with which about 180,000 men a year in America can identify,’ he explains.
‘Taking the PSA test saved my life. Literally. That’s why I am writing this now.’
A PSA test is a blood test which can detect the early signs of an enlarged prostate. The actor adds that whilst the test has proved controversial, with some experts debating its safety and effectiveness, he was simply sharing his personal experience in the hope that it will help others to catch the disease early.
‘The bottom line for me: I was lucky enough to have a doctor who gave me what they call a “baseline” PSA test when I was about 46,’ he says. ‘If he had waited, as the American Cancer Society recommends, until I was 50, I would not have known I had a growing tumor until two years after I got treated.’
>Ben pictured with his wife Christine Taylor and daughter Ella
Ben was diagnosed with a ‘mid-range aggressive cancer’, and had surgery to remove his tumour. He is now cancer-free and ‘extremely grateful’.
‘I think men over the age of 40 should have the opportunity to discuss the test with their doctor and learn about it, so they can have the chance to be screened. After that an informed patient can make responsible choices as to how to proceed,’ he concludes.
‘I count my blessings that I had a doctor who presented me with these options. After I chose to take the test, he directed me to doctors who worked at centers of excellence in this field to determine the next steps.’
‘This is a complicated issue, and an evolving one. But in this imperfect world, I believe the best way to determine a course of action for the most treatable, yet deadly cancer, is to detect it early.’