Actor Ben Stiller revealed in an online essay and on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show on Tuesday that in 2014 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and that the tumour was surgically removed three months later in September 2014.
He added that a blood test known as prostate-specific antigen test saved his life. Although according to Stiller he was tested and treated while still in his 40s, the American Cancer Society recommends the age of 50 for men at average risk of prostate cancer for starting the test. For those at high risk, the test starts at the age of 45, CNN reported.
“It came out of the blue for me. I had no idea,” Stiller told Stern on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show as quoted by the Heavy.com.
During the time Ben Stiller was diagnosed with cancer, Stiller took it slow on his career and appeared only in two movies.
In the essay posted on Medium, Stiller advocated for PSA Tests and advised getting it early without waiting to be 50.
“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,” he wrote. “If he had followed the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, I would have never gotten tested at all, and not have known I had cancer until it was way too late to treat successfully.”
He added that men above the age of 40 should be given the opportunity to discuss the test with their doctors and then make a responsible decision on how to go about it.
“The controversy about the test is that once you get treatment for prostate cancer, things can happen: incontinence, impotence,” Stiller said on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show. “It’s the second most deadly cancer, but it’s also one of the most survived cancers, if it’s detected early.”
The USPSTF site said that it is updating the recommendations on PSA Tests, which it has been advocating since 2012.