Ben Stiller Survived Prostate Cancer — A Look Back at His Diagnosis and Battle with the Disease
Known for starring in comedy favorites like “Zoolander” and “Meet the Fockers,” the multi-talented star’s battle with cancer inspired him to campaign for others to educate themselves about the illness.
54-year-old comedian, director, and actor Ben Stiller has been a household comedic star at least since the early ‘90s, and he has since led an impressive career both behind and in front of the cameras.
Throughout his career, Stiller has given life to some hilarious Hollywood characters, such as Greg Focker, Derek Zoolander, and Chas Tenenbaum. Still, behind these hysterical characters, there is a real man who has gone through life-threatening situations.
When Stiller was 47, he was shocked by the news that he had an aggressive disease. Going through it and remaining alive to talk about it really meant a change of perspective for the actor and father-of-two.
ADDRESSING THE ISSUE
In 2016, Stiller addressed his past battle with prostate cancer in public for the first time, breaking two years of keeping his diagnosis to himself and his immediate family.
It was in October that year that Stiller sat for an interview with the controversial radio personality Howard Stern, alongside the doctor in charge of the surgery he had to undergo to treat the illness.
Already cancer-free at the time, Stiller chose to open up about his health ordeal on such a high-profile platform (The “Howard Stern Show”) with the hope of prompting younger men to get checked for the illness early.
AN EARLY DIAGNOSIS
Apart from sharing his experience in the aforementioned show, Stiller took to Medium on October 4, 2016, to post an essay titled “The Prostate Cancer Test That Saved My Life,” to spread his urgent message further.
As Stiller revealed in the essay, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer on June 13, 2014, which marked the start of a three-month “roller coaster ride with which about 180,000 men a year in America can identify.”
After a rapid search on the Internet, Stiller recalled some high profile men who had overcome prostate cancer, such as John Kerry, Joe Torre, Mandy Patinkin, and Robert DeNiro, which gave him a sense of hope.
Upon learning more about the illness, Stiller came to realize how lucky he was to have been diagnosed at an early stage of this aggressive form of cancer. He admitted that he only learned of his diagnosis thanks to his internist giving him “a test he didn’t have to.”
“If [the internist] 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,” Stiller shared, in hopes of inspiring others not to wait until it is too late.
SHARING HIS JOURNEY
Knowing that no time was to be wasted if he wanted to overcome the illness, Stiller still had to evaluate the different possibilities that existed for a case like his. He consulted several experts until he made the decision to go with Dr. Edward Schaeffer.
As Schaeffer recommended, Stiller agreed to undergo surgery for his tumor to be removed. Schaeffer headed the surgical procedure, which consisted of a “robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy,” as the actor detailed.
Even though he can now look back with humor at this severe health issue, Stiller told Stern that he was terribly scared before going into the operating room. He admitted picturing his funeral even before he was confirmed to have prostate cancer.
Not surprisingly, Stiller admitted that he appreciates life much more after having gone through such a life-threatening and life-changing journey.
A FRIENDLY SPLIT
While the news of the couple’s split was confirmed in a statement shared with ET Online in May 2017, three years later, there haven’t been any signs of anyone officially filing for divorce.
Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor are officially calling it quits: https://t.co/dH62611Mih— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) May 27, 2017
“Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time,” the aforementioned statement read.
Stiller and Taylor share two children. The older of the two is daughter Ella, born on April 9, 2002. A son named Quinn followed on July 10, 2005. Both children have collaborated in some way in some of their father’s films.
Not only have Stiller and Taylor not taken further action to end their marriage legally, but they have also continued to work together and regularly attend red carpet events together.
As recently as September 2019, Stiller and Taylor attended the Emmy Awards ceremony together, and the two were glad to pose for photos together upon their arrival at the event, during which they also sat together.
Taylor was there to support Stiller, who was nominated for best director for the drama miniseries “Escape at Dannemora,” which premiered on Showtime in 2018.
HIS FATHER’S LEGACY
While Stiller is happy to explore more dramatic productions both as an actor and director, he is very proud to come from a comedic couple, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, both of whom have already passed.
Meara was the first to go, passing away in 2015, and Jerry, the most recognizable of the two, also left us early in May 2020, at age 92.
A week after the news broke of Jerry’s death, his son Stiller opened up about his father’s comedic legacy in an extensive interview with The New Yorker.
First and foremost, Jerry and Meara’s legacy lives through their children, Stiller and his sister Amy, who also grew to be an actress and comedian. As Stiller shared back then, for him and Amy, show business “was the fabric of our lives.”
ⓘ The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on, or available through this NEWS.AMOMAMA.COM is for general information purposes only. NEWS.AMOMAMA.COM does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.