Ben Stiller is talking for the first time about being diagnosed with prostate cancer at 48. Stiller, now 50, visited the Stern Show on Tuesday morning and told Howard how he and his doctor were able to detect and treat the disease early.
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“It came out of the blue for me,” Ben told Howard. “I had no idea.” Had he not gotten tested by his doctor, Ben’s cancer could have gone undetected. Luckily, he was given a PSA, or prostate-specific antigen test, in his 40s, despite most medical professionals suggesting that prostate cancer screening not begin until age 50.
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“It’s a very controversial subject, the PSA test,” Ben said. “The PSA test is the only early screener for prostate cancer and, right now, the United States Preventative Services Task Force does not recommend to take the test. I think American Cancer Society says you should discuss it at 50. If I hadn’t taken the test – my doctor started giving it to me at 46 – I would not have known. Right now, I still wouldn’t have known.”
Ben was subsequently given a MRI when his PSA test came back with higher than standard amounts. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Ben described one of the first things he did was hunt the web to learn about others that have had prostate cancer, including his former costar Robert De Niro.
“I phoned him right away,” Ben told Howard. “He hooked me up with his physician.” After speaking to several practitioners, Ben was presented to Dr. Ted Schaeffer, the chair of Northwestern University’s Department of Urology, who has performed some 2,000 operations in his profession.
“You need to attend a surgeon that you just feel will remove the cancer first and maintain everything.” On the morning of his surgery, yet, Ben confessed to being frightened, calling it a “shocking” encounter. Howard wondered if he’d sex, perhaps for the last time, the night before his operation and if Ben was frightened about losing his sexual function.
Post-operation, sex has transformed for Stiller. His physician and he described what guys can anticipate after getting a process that removes the prostate.
“It alters the experience of what an orgasm feels like. It is amazing, it only feels different.”
“You can absolutely have an erection and everything you are thinking and feeling during sex is the same because that is up in your brain.”