Actor and Jewish comedian Ben Stiller recently opened up about a health scare he had two years ago–he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The 50-year-old was able to undergo treatment for the disease and has been cancer-free since as a result of the early detection, according to an interview this past Tuesday on SiriusXM’s “The Howard Stern Show.” Stiller also published an essay about his health crisis on Medium.
Stiller told Stern how he had no family history of prostate cancer, so it came as a shock:
“It came out of the blue for me. The one thing that it does is it just stops everything in your life when you get a diagnosis of cancer because you can’t plan for a movie, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
While, The American Cancer Society recommends men begin testing when they reach 50, Stiller calls for the test to be administered as early as age 40 if the patient requests it–because 50 could be too late, as he explained:
“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.”
We’re glad Stiller made a full recovery–and hope doctors take his request to test earlier seriously–as it could save lives.