Ben Stiller has announced that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
US Magazine reports that the 50-year-old Stiller appeared on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and told Stern that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 48.
"It came out of the blue for me. I had no idea," Stiller explained to host Howard Stern. "At first, I didn't know what was gonna happen. I was scared. 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 famous actor then explained why he decided to announce the news, saying, "I wanted to talk about it because of the [PSA] test ... I feel like the test saved my life."
A prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA test, is a blood test that measures the amount of antigens in a patient's blood, and screens for prostate cancer.
"It's the second most deadly cancer, but it's about one of the most curable," Stiller explained to Stern.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Stiller's tumor had been growing for years before it was found, and that only happened after an internist suggested the PSA test.
"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 writes. "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 tumor 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."
Stiller claimed he called some famous friends who had previously dealt with the disease, including actor Robert De Niro. "The first thing I did when I got diagnosed was get on the internet to try to learn. I saw De Niro had had it. I called him right away," he explained, according to US Magazine.
He also broke the news to his wife and two children, saying that they were 'pretty cool with it.'
Stiller claims the experience of being diagnosed has given him a new lease on life. "Afterwards, it just gives you an appreciation for life," he told Stern. "Every six months I'm taking my PSA test to make sure I'm clear."