Ben Stiller opened up on Tuesday, October 4 about his secret battle with prostate cancer. The Zoolander star spoke about his undergoing treatment for the disease for the first time during an appearance on SiriusXM's The Howard Stern Show. ”[The diagnosis] came out of the blue for me," the actor told Howard Stern. "I had no idea."
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In an essay published on the Medium after his radio interview aired, Ben revealed that he was diagnosed with the disease in June of 2014 and by mid-September of that year he was “cancer free,” calling the three months in between “a crazy roller coaster ride.”
"At first, I didn't know what was gonna happen. I was scared," Ben shared on Howard’s show. "It just stopped everything in your life because you can't plan for a movie because you don't know what's gonna happen."
The 50-year-old, who has no family history of prostate cancer, credits his doctor, Bernard Kruger, and the “baseline” Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test given during his annual physical for detecting the illness early.
Ben penned in his essay, “As I learned more about my disease — I was able to wrap my head around the fact that I was incredibly fortunate. Fortunate because my cancer was detected early enough to treat. And also because my internist gave me a test he didn’t have to.” He added, “Taking the PSA test saved my life. Literally.”
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After a second PSA test, the actor went through a series of additional tests including an MRI and biopsy, before it was determined that he did in fact have cancer. "The first thing I did when I got diagnosed was get on the internet to try to learn," he said. Ben also turned to his former Meet the Parents co-star, Robert De Niro. He said, "I saw [Robert] De Niro had had it. I called him right away."
The Night at the Museum star, who is married to actress Christine Taylor, also shared the news with his two children — daughter Ella Stiller, 14, and son Quinlin Stiller, 11. "I told them I had something I had to deal with," the dad-of-two said. "They were pretty cool with it."
Following the surgery to remove his prostate, Ben admittedly had a new respect for life. "Afterwards, it just gives you an appreciation for life," he said. "Every six months I'm taking my PSA test to make sure I'm clear."
As for why he chose to open up about his health scare years later, he confessed, “I wanted to talk about it because of the test — 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," Ben noted. "It's the second most deadly cancer, but it's also one of the most survived cancers, if it's detected early."