October 4, 2016


Ben Stiller Reveals He Battled Cancer Two Years Ago

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

On Tuesday, Ben Stiller revealed on Howard Stern and in a written piece on Medium that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, when he was 48. "As of this writing I am two years cancer free and extremely grateful," he says in the in-depth piece, which concludes with eight helpful links to get help and information.

Part of Stiller's decision to reveal his past health scare is to advocate for the PSA test, which is criticized in some corners for ushering in "further tests like the MRI and the more invasive biopsy, when not needed." Here's part of what the director of Zoolander, The Cable Guy and Tropic Thunder had to say about it:

"Taking the PSA test saved my life. Literally. That’s why I am writing this now. There has been a lot of controversy over the test in the last few years. Articles and op-eds on whether it is safe, studies that seem to be interpreted in many different ways, and debates about whether men should take it all. I am not offering a scientific point of view here, just a personal one, based on my experience. The bottom line for me: I was lucky enough to have a doctor who gave me what they call a 'baseline' PSA test when I was about 46. 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.

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."

Of his actual reaction, Stiller told Stern, "I was scared. It just stopped everything in your life because you can't plan for a movie because you don't know what's gonna happen." In the end, a "a robotic assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy"

Read Ben Stiller's entire testimony about his prostate cancer on Medium now.