Hollywood comedian actor Ben Stiller credits undergoing the prostate-specific antigen test for being cancer-free since September 2014. The actor found through the PSA test in June 2014 that he had prostate cancer, so he had the tumor removed through surgery three months after the diagnosis.
Although the American Cancer Society recommends men to undergo the PSA test at 50 years old when they are at average risk of the ailment, Stiller had the test and surgery when he was in his 40s, CNN reported.
Because the early diagnosis saved his life, Stiller has become a campaigner for early detection when he wrote an essay on the subject which he posted online, and when he guested on Tuesday on the Siriux XM radio show of Howard Stern.
Measuring The Volume Of Antigen Substances
He was 46 when doctors offered him the baseline PSA test, Stiller wrote. The test measures the volume of prostate-specific antigen substances the male gland produces. A high level is an indicator of cancer.
“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,” Stiller wrote. He thanked the internist who recommended him to undergo the PSA before he reached 50.
The PSA tests were spread over 18 months, done every six months, which allowed the internist to monitor the actor’s PSA level. After the doctor noticed the rise in the PSA level, he had Stiller examined by a urologist who ordered an MRI screening of the male gland which eventually confirmed it was prostate cancer.
Terrifying Cancer Diagnosis
The comedian shared that the diagnosis terrified him. “It just stopped everything in your life because you can't plan for a movie because you don't know what's gonna happen,” the “Zoolander” actor, now 50, told Cosmopolitan.
Because of the prostate’s slow growth, most men do not have early symptoms of prostate cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men, according to the American Cancer Society.
Now with more appreciation for life following his brush with death, the "Meet the Parents" actor still goes through a PSA test semi-annually to ensure he remains clear of cancer.