The interview for Today with Mat Lauer was the first one for the actor Ben Stiller after he revealed he’s battling prostate cancer. In the interview, he told Lauer that he’s “really fortunate” to call himself “cancer free.”
“It’s a whole new world, so you need to educate yourself. For me, it was learning what the options were,” said the actor, who went with recommendations to have his prostate removed.
“I’m doing great. I was really fortunate that my course of treatment was basically an operation and that was it,” Stiller said.
Last month, Stiller announced that he’s been battling prostate cancer since June 2014, when he was 48. He told that he hadn’t experience any symptoms and that there hasn’t been any case of prostate cancer in his family history. The disease was detected by a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test that he had been taking annually since he was 46.
The tests works by measuring PSA levels. PSA is a protein that is produced by cells of the prostate gland. The National Cancer Institute states that the blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer, and the test was approved by the FDA in 1986.
But, since various benign conditions can cause a man’s PSA level to rise, which is one reason the test is considered controversial. It is recommended for men to do an annual PSA screening, starting at the age of 50. But, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against PSA screenings because it may lead to over-diagnosis.
Dr. Edward Schaeffer, Stiller’s surgeon, told Matt that men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer need to understand all of their treatment options and what makes the best sense for the person.
“Men can have difficultly with their urination and with their sexual function after treatment for prostate cancer. It’s not just isolated to surgery. Today, what we do is really try to do a better job recommending active treatment for men versus just watching their cancers,” Schaeffer said.
Stiller stated that beside the side effects normally associated with surgery, specifically incontinence and impotence, he said he’s “all good”.