During an appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday morning, Ben Stiller made the shocking announcement that he is now two years cancer free, after having secretly battled prostate cancer in 2014. Shortly after his interview, Medium published an essay penned by the Zoolander 2 star (paired with just the right image from Something About Mary) in which he opened up about his diagnosis, and how early presentation very likely saved his life.
Stiller was just 46 when his doctor detected elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a blood test he received during his annual physical. From there, his doctor tested his levels every six months for a year and a half, and finally as the numbers continued to rise, he was referred to a urologist who — after a “slightly invasive physical check in his office using a gloved finger” — suggested an MRI. After studying the MRI his doctor recommended a biopsy, and sure enough the biopsy came back positive for “mid-range aggressive cancer.”
Stiller writes about the surreal moment when he first learned of his diagnosis.
As my new, world-altering doctor spoke about cell cores and Gleason scores, probabilities of survival, incontinence and impotence, why surgery would be good and what kind would make the most sense, his voice literally faded out like every movie or TV show about a guy being told he had cancer… a classic Walter White moment, except I was me, and no one was filming anything at all.
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.
Stiller also stressed the importance of the PSA test in catching his early diagnosis, as it’s recommended by most medical professionals that men not get tested until the age of 50, at which point the tumor would have been growing for two entire years after he received his treatment. You can read Stiller’s whole essay here, which includes helpful links to learn more about prostate cancer, and listen to his Stern interview below.