Ben Stiller Re­veals Bat­tle with Prostate Cancer

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - Reprinted from Hol­ly­wood Reporter

Ben Stiller re­vealed on Tues­day’s Howard Stern Show that he was di­ag­nosed with “in­ter­me­di­ately ag­gres­sive” prostate cancer at the age of 48, two years ago, and had surgery to treat it.

Stiller, 50, who ap­peared on Stern’s Sir­iusXM show with his sur­geon, Dr. Ed­ward Scha­ef­fer, opened up for the first time about his ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with the dis­ease and how he now urges peo­ple to talk with their doc­tors about get­ting tested at a younger age. Af­ter his ap­pear­ance on Stern, Stiller posted an es­say on Medium about his ex­pe­ri­ence, with help­ful links to learn more about prostate cancer and PSA screen­ings.

Stiller says his in­ternist had been giv­ing him a PSA test, a blood test for the prostate-spe­cific anti­gen, for a cou­ple of years prior to his di­ag­no­sis and was mon­i­tor­ing the re­sults. As Stiller’s doc­tor saw his test num­bers rise, he rec­om­mended that his pa­tient visit a urol­o­gist. Stiller said he got an MRI and a biopsy and was told, sort of mat­ter-of­factly, that he had cancer.

“It came out of the blue for me,” Stiller said on Stern of the di­ag­no­sis. “I had no idea.”

The ac­tor-direc­tor then con­nected with Scha­ef­fer af­ter talk­ing with “a bunch of dif­fer­ent” doc­tors, in­clud­ing Robert De Niro’s physi­cian. “I have no his­tory of prostate cancer in my fam­ily and I am not in the high-risk group, be­ing nei­ther — to the best of my knowl­edge — of African or Scan­di­na­vian an­ces­try. I had no symp­toms,” Stiller writes. “What I had — and I’m healthy to­day be­cause of it — was a thought­ful in­ternist who felt like I was around the age to start check­ing my PSA level, and dis­cussed it with me. 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. 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.”

Stiller’s tu­mor had been grow­ing for years, he said on Howard Stern, and had he not had the PSA test, he wouldn’t have known he was sick.

Dur­ing a more than 30-minute dis­cus­sion on Stern, Stiller also opened up about how his ex­pe­ri­ence af­fected him psy­cho­log­i­cally. He talked about the fear he felt prior to his surgery, say­ing even while he was be­ing tested, pre-di­ag­no­sis, he was al­ready “cre­at­ing the whole movie in my head. I’m pic­tur­ing the funeral.”

Af­ter he was di­ag­nosed, he went on­line to look up other peo­ple who’ve had prostate cancer and saw that De Niro had dealt with it, so he called his Meet the Par­ents co-star.

Stiller said he was di­ag­nosed on Fri­day, June 13, 2014, and had to wait two months to have the surgery. While he ac­cepted that he was go­ing to have the pro­ce­dure, the ac­tor-direc­tor said the morn­ing of the surgery was “re­ally scary.” He said he told his kids, who were 12 and 9 at the time, that he had “some­thing [he] needed to deal with” and men­tioned cancer but didn’t want to scare them.

Now he says he “100 per­cent” ap­pre­ci­ates life more.

Stiller said he had just fin­ished a Noah Baum­bach movie with Adam San­dler in which he and San­dler play Dustin Hoff­man’s sons and is now off to Mon­treal to do a new film.

The ac­tor-direc­tor re­vealed on Tues­day’s ‘Howard Stern Show’ that two years ago he was di­ag­nosed with “in­ter­me­di­ately ag­gres­sive” prostate cancer and had surgery to treat it.

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