50-year-old actor Ben Stiller announced for the first time that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stiller first reveals his secret on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday.
Ben and his surgeon, Edward Schaeffer, both appeared on the show and discussed his diagnosis of “medium-aggressive” prostate cancer. He was actually diagnosed back in 2014 when he was 48.
“At first, I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I was scared. I was scared,” Stiller confessed. “The one thing that it does is it just stops everything in your life when you get a diagnosis of cancer because you can’t plan for a movie, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Ben was especially shocked, because nothing of his family history or past puts him at High Risk for prostate cancer. His doctor detected cancer when he administered a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. The test has been talked about as controversial. It is the only early screen test for prostate cancer. The United States Preventative Services Task Force does not recommend taking it. Stiller has been taking it since he was 46.
Stiller has since had his prostate removed and takes the PSA test every six months, just to make sure he is all good.
So why, after two years since his diagnosis did Stiller come out with this?
“I wanted to talk about it because of the test,” Ben said. “I feel like the test saved my life.”
“The controversy about the test is that once you get treatment for prostate cancer, things can happen: incontinence, impotence,” Stiller stated, “It’s the second most deadly cancer, but it’s also one of the most survived cancers if it’s detected early.”
Ben Stiller was diagnosed with cancer on June 13th, 2014. September 17th of that year he was cancer free. All because of a test that he didn’t have to take. A test that was not recommended for him to take.
Let’s take a final step back. The American Cancer Society recommends men should discuss testing for prostate cancer at 50. The United States Preventative Services Task Force does not recommend men taking the PSA test. Stiller began testing anyways at 46 and found out he had cancer at 48.
What if Ben waited until he was 50? The tumor could have grown, the cancer could have spread. His chances of survival would have been less than they were two years ago.