- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Actor Ben Stiller revealed in a blog post Tuesday that he battled an “aggressive” form of prostate cancer in 2014.

In a post on the website Medium, Mr. Stiller credited his life to a PSA, or prostate-specific antigen test, and said he is now cancer-free.

“Taking the PSA test saved my life. Literally. That’s why I am writing this now,” the “Zoolander” star wrote.

“I got diagnosed with prostate cancer Friday, June 13th, 2014,” he continued. “As I learned more about my disease (one of the key learnings is not to Google ‘people who died of prostate cancer’ immediately after being diagnosed with prostate cancer), I was able to wrap my head around the fact that I was incredibly fortunate. Fortunate because my cancer was detected early enough to treat. And also because my internist gave me a test he didn’t have to.”

Mr. Stiller had his PSA test when he was 46, four years before the American Cancer Society recommends.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

Mr. Stiller said he was diagnosed with a “mid-range aggressive cancer,” for which surgery was recommended.

“Ultimately, I found a wonderful surgeon named Edward Schaeffer who I felt comfortable with,” he wrote. “He performed a robotic assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Due to a lot of skill and a little beneficence from some higher power, he got all the cancer. As of this writing I am two years cancer free and extremely grateful.”

Mr. Stiller went on to address criticisms of the PSA test, which some experts say can do as much harm as good.

“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,” Mr. Stiller wrote. “Physicians can find low-risk cancers that are not life threatening, especially to older patients. 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.

“But without this PSA test itself, or any screening procedure at all, how are doctors going to detect asymptomatic cases like mine, before the cancer has spread and metastasized throughout one’s body rendering it incurable?” he asked.

“I think men over the age of 40 should have the opportunity to discuss the test with their doctor and learn about it, so they can have the chance to be screened,” he concluded. “This is a complicated issue, and an evolving one. But in this imperfect world, I believe the best way to determine a course of action for the most treatable, yet deadly cancer, is to detect it early.”

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