The bad news is that Ian McKellen has revealed that he has prostate cancer. The sorta good news is that he was diagnosed 7 years ago and because of constant monitoring, the cancer hasn’t spread and, therefore, isn’t currently life-threatening. While promoting the forthcoming release of his new film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, McKellen opened up about his illness which, on the surface, sounds scary. But when you read his take on the illness, he makes it sound like it’s no big deal at all.
Sir Ian McKellen has revealed that he suffers from prostate cancer. McKellen … tells the Daily Mirror that he’s had “prostate cancer for six or seven years.” But the 73-year-old says the diagnosis is far from a death sentence. “When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn’t spread. But if it is contained in the prostate, it’s no big deal,” he says. “Many, many die from it, but it’s one of the cancers that is totally treatable so I have ‘wasteful watching.’ I am examined regularly and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading. I’ve not had any treatment,” he adds. Although prostate cancer can pose a serious health risk if left untreated, the X-Men actor maintains that detection is key. “I have heard of people dying from prostate cancer, and they are the unlucky ones, the people who didn’t know they had got it and it went on the rampage. But at my age if it is diagnosed, its not life threatening,” he says. He recalls his diagnosis, saying, “You are told what the situation is: you can have an operation but there is no point [in] me having an operation because there is no need for it,” he says. “What they are concerned about is the cancer going to spread outside the prostate? If it doesn’t you are fine. How do you know if it is spreading? You keep being tested.”
Wow. I had no idea that cancer like this was “treatable”. That Ian McKellen has been living with cancer for “6 or 7 years” without having to undergo surgery and is still able to live a relatively healthy life is amazing to me. When I first saw this headline, my immediate assumption was that the diagnosis was new and that we might soon lose one of the greatest actors alive today. Having read McKellen’s comments in full, I was equally relieved and astounded. Whatever he is doing healthwise is clearly working. He has been a very prolific last 6 or 7 years so it sounds like he and his doctors know what they are doing. I am hopeful we’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of McKellen’s labor for many years to come … cancer be damned.