Ben Stiller went public about his prostate cancer diagnosis Tuesday, telling Howard Stern, “It came out of the blue for me. I had no idea.”
Two years ago, Stiller’s doctor detected the disease through a simple blood screening called a prostate-specific antigen test. They successfully treated the cancer through surgery, and now, Stiller is speaking out to urge more men to be tested earlier than is officially recommended with the PSA, which he still takes every six months.
“I wanted to talk about it because of the test,” he said. “I feel like the test saved my life.”
One in seven men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, added the actor, who has no family history of the disease.
“You go from one test to the next test, and then it starts to become more of a reality, and each time you have to kind of reorient yourself and think, ‘Okay, I’m not gonna get too far ahead of myself, but it’s starting to make me think,” he said.
At first, I didn’t know what was gonna happen, so I was scared, you know? I was scared. 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 gonna happen.”
Stiller reached out to his Meet the Parents costar Robert De Niro, who beat prostate cancer in 2003.
“He hooked me up with his doctor, and when he got it he made it public right away,” Stiller said.
For more information on Stiller’s journey and the PSA test, read his essay on Medium.
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