Ben Stiller has a crucial PSA for men: Ask the doctor for a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test because it could save your life, like it did his.
In a piece published by Medium, the Zoolander star reveals that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago. Stiller shared that his doctor included the PSA test during an annual physical checkup when he was 46, although he didn’t have any family history of prostate cancer.
His PSA levels continued to rise over two years, so he got referred to an urologist and an MRI confirmed that he had a tumor. He then had a biopsy to test the malignancy of the mass. In June 2014, he learned that his tumor was cancerous.
“I had a Gleason score of 7 (3+4), which is categorised ‘mid-range aggressive cancer,'” he recalls “Surgery was recommended.”
He hit Google to learn about his illness and to see who else had it, and Robert DeNiro was one of them. He also learned “Not to Google ‘people who died of prostate cancer’ immediately after being diagnosed with prostate cancer).”
Thankfully, his cancer was caught early enough to be treated, and his doctor performed a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Stiller was able to sidestep radiation that can result in impotence or incontinence.
Three months after the surgery, Stiller’s test returned cancer-free and two years down the road, that’s still the case.
“If he had waited, as the American Cancer Society recommends, until I was 50,” Stiller says, “I would not have known I had a growing tumor until two years after I got treated. If he had followed the U.S. 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.”
“I think men over the age of 40 should have the opportunity to discuss the test with their doctor and learn about it, so they can have the chance to be screened. After that, an informed patient can make responsible choices as to how to proceed.”
“This is a complicated issue, and an evolving one. But in this imperfect world, I believe the best way to determine a course of action for the most treatable, yet deadly cancer, is to detect it early.”
Prostate cancer is no joke and we concur with Ben. Get tested early, even if you’re not in the high-risk group.