Ben Stiller is opening up about his secret cancer battle two years ago.
Last month, the 50-year-old comedian revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer
when he was 48 years old, and is now thankfully cancer-free. In a new interview alongside his surgeon on Tuesday, Stiller advocates for more men to take the PSA test -- a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer -- which led to his own diagnosis.
"It's surreal," Stiller tells Today
's Matt Lauer about getting the news that he had cancer. "It wasn't something I was thinking about. It wasn't on my radar at all. If it wasn't for this test, I don't think I would have had as easy a course of treatment or prognosis that I did have."
Stiller reveals he underwent an operation to remove his prostate and is now doing "great." As for any apprehension about potential side effects, like problems with urination or sexual function, he says the decision was still an easy one.
"When you're confronted with the question of, 'Hey, do you want to live, or do you want to make sure your sex life is the best it can be?,' I opted for wanting to see what happens, and luckily everything's cool," he explains.
Lauer also asks the Zoolander star -- who's been married to actress Christine Taylor since 2000 -- if he has had to personally deal with any side effects, and Stiller's sense of humor remains intact.
"Yeah, but I'm doing good -- all good," he says with a thumbs up and a big laugh.
Most importantly, Stiller is aiming to raise awareness for the PSA test by opening up about his own life-changing experience. The PSA test -- which measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood -- is controversial given that prostate cancer is a common cancer in men, but not everybody who gets prostate cancer will die from it, Stiller's surgeon explains. Some argue that a test would elevated results would lead to unnecessary biopsies, or additional tests, which could cause anxiety for the patient.
But Stiller maintains that more testing should be done.
"If it was up to me, I would say every guy should get tested after the age of 40, 45, especially if you have a family history,'" he says. "If I hadn't taken this test, I wouldn't have known."
Last month, the father of two wrote a blog post on Medium
about battling "mid-range aggressive" prostate cancer, and stressed how fortunate he was to get an early diagnosis.
"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," Stiller wrote. "Fortunate because my cancer was detected early enough to treat. And also because my internist gave me a test he didn't have to."