Ben Stiller opened up about his battle with prostate cancer on Tuesday, November 22, in his first TV interview since revealing his 2014 diagnosis last month. During an appearance on the Today show, the Emmy winner sat alongside his surgeon and confirmed that he’s cancer free as he urged other men to get tested for the disease.
“I’m doing great,” Stiller, 50, told Today cohost Matt Lauer. “I was really fortunate that my course of treatment was basically an operation, and that was it.”
The Zoolander star, who first revealed his diagnosis on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show last month after keeping it secret for two years, continued: “It’s surreal. It’s not something that I was really thinking about. It wasn’t on my radar at all.”
Stiller explained that he regularly took the controversial PSA test, which is used to screen males for prostate cancer. He decided to speak out about his positive experience with the exam because of the debate that it can lead to overdiagnosis.
Stiller also said that he followed his doctors’ recommendations and had his prostate removed. “It’s a whole new world, and you have to educate yourself,” he explained. “For me, it was learning what the options were. [My surgeon, Dr. Edward Schaeffer] told me what he thought the best course of treatment would be for the tumor that I had, and so I opted for the operation.”
Dr. Schaeffer then discussed the possible side effects of prostate cancer treatments. “Men can have difficulty with their urination and with their sexual function after treatment for prostate cancer,” he explained. “It’s not just isolated to surgery. Today, what we do is we try to do a better job recommending active treatment for men versus just watching their cancers.”
Lauer pointed out that erectile dysfunction can also be a side effect, but in response, Stiller simply smiled and gave two thumbs up. “When you’re confronted with the question of ‘Hey, do you want to live or do you want to make sure your sex life is the best it can be?’ I opted for wanting to get rid of the cancer and see what happens, and luckily everything is cool,” he explained.
As for the actor’s final message? “Please talk to your doctor about this,” he urged male viewers. “Be aware. If it was up to me, every guy should get tested after the age of 40 or 45.”
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