The Emmy Award-winning actor Ben Stiller first learned that he had an aggressive form of prostate cancer in 2014. Fortunately, after undergoing several treatments and he was being declared cancer-free. Now the actor is explaining the way how he learned he had cancer so that it can save many men’s lives. The actor mentioned a simple test that saved his life.
At the age of 46, Stiller went to his doctor for a regular check-up. His doctor recommended a blood test called the PSA test to get a baseline reading of the actor’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. At that time the test result showed that his numbers were high. Then he was retested every six months over the next two years. But it is observed that Stiller’s PSA numbers steadily rose. So, Stiller recommending to perform a PSA test regularly if the initial rate is high.
Though the actor underwent additional testing before it confirmed he had prostate cancer. The PSA test is the first test he had to perform. So, the Zoolander actor said, “If I hadn’t gotten the test… right now I still wouldn’t have known,” Stiller credits his doctor and the PSA test for saving his life. Stiller said, “A PSA test is the only early screener for prostate cancer and right now the United States Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend taking the test. I think the American Cancer Society says you should discuss it at 50.”
However, there is a big controversy about this PSA test among medical professionals. In 2016, the actor elaborately wrote about this controversy, “The criticism of the test is that depending on how they interpret the data, doctors can send patients for further tests like the MRI and the more invasive biopsy, when not needed. Physicians can find low-risk cancers that are not life-threatening, especially to older patients.”
He also explained. “In some cases, men with this type of cancer get ‘over-treatment’ like radiation or surgery, resulting in side effects such as impotence or incontinence. Obviously, this is not good; however, it’s all in the purview of the doctor treating the patient.”