Ben Stiller has been secretly battling an "aggressive" form of cancer, but the actor now revealed his diagnosis from two years go. After learning of his condition, the Zoolander star underwent surgery to remove his prostate and has since made a full recovery, he told Howard Stern on Tuesday (Oct. 4).
Speaking about his illness for the first time, Ben said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2014 and underwent surgery two months later.
The 50-year-old received the good news that he is cancer-free in September 2014, and he is now encouraging other men to speak to their doctors about being tested at a younger age.
"It came out of the blue for me. I had no idea," Ben said of his diagnosis, explaining that he was advised to undergo surgery for his "intermediately aggressive" cancer.
The actor says he is "extremely grateful" to have been cancer free for the past two years, and said he was lucky to have discovered the disease early due to the PSA tests – a blood test that can detect the early signs of an enlarged prostate – his doctor performed early.
Writing in an essay published on Medium, Stiller said the test saved his life as he had noticed no symptoms prior to his diagnosis.
"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," Ben wrote. "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 tumour 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."