Prostate Cancer Alert: Ben Stiller Is Cancer-Free, Gives Credit To Early PSA Test

First Posted: Oct 05, 2016 06:28 AM EDT

After being free from prostate cancer, Ben Stiller wants men to have an early Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. The actor/writer/director confirmed that he had the illness two years ago. He is now cancer-free, thanks to his doctor who advised him to undergo the test earlier.

According to USA Today, the Zoolander 2 star had an appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show on Tuesday, where he and his doctor Edward Schaeffer publicly discussed his diagnosis. They aim for men to undergo an early test, which means at the time when they are younger than 50 years of age. American Cancer Society recommends undergoing the test at age 50.

Stiller narrated that during an annual physical exam when he was 46, his doctor decided to have the PSA test included in his bloodwork. This was despite the fact that he did not have a family history of the illness. Also, he was not part of the at-risk group.

During the next two years, Stiller’s levels increased. For this reason, a urologist checked on him and he later on confirmed that he had a tumor. After a biopsy, he found out that his tumor was cancerous. He had a mid-range aggressive cancer.

Stiller said he was lucky because it was early enough to detect and treat his cancer. He underwent a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. This made him able to avoid radiation and other “over-treatment” that can lead to incontinence or impotence. Stiller was already cancer-free three months after the surgery and until this date.

Using his case a reference, Stiller thinks men over 40 years of age should start discussing about the illness with their doctors. As for him, it might me too late to treat his cancer if he waited until he was 50.

Meanwhile, CNN reported about the response of Otis Brawley, American Cancer Society chief medical officer. According to Brawley, Stiller’s case was one positive experience but numerous men had negative experiences with the test as well. Only those who have a family history of the illness should undergo PSA testing earlier.

Moreover, it is important to take note that the test has some risks. For instance, the bad operating systems of the tests lead to missing “cancer that needs to be found” and finding “cancer that doesn’t need to be found”. Consequently, might undergo unnecessary treatments and become vulnerable to risks linked to surgery and biopsies.

In U.S.A., prostate cancer is the second-most common type of cancer in men, next to skin cancer. As for diagnosing prostate cancer, Ben Stiller is one example that proves the importance of finding and treating the illness before symptoms manifest.

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