Sir Ian McKellen has been battling prostate cancer for “six or seven years”.
The 73-year-old actor was nervous when he was first diagnosed with the disease but has found a way to live with it. Although he realises not everyone who is diagnosed is as lucky as him, Ian is hopeful he will continue being able to manage his illness.
“I’ve had it for six or seven years. When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn’t spread,” he told British newspaper The Mirror.
“But if it is contained in the prostate it’s no big deal.
“Many, many men die from it but it’s one of the cancers that is totally treatable so I have ‘waitful watching’. I am examined regularly and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading. I’ve not had any treatment.”
Although the star is quite relaxed about the disease now, it hasn’t always been that way. Initially he was terrified when he heard he had cancer and wondered if he would die from it.
“You do gulp when you hear the news. It’s like when you go for an HIV test, you go, ‘Arghhh is this the end of the road'’ They say you have cancer of the prostate and then that you can have it zapped,” he recalled.
Ian began to sense something was wrong when he needed the toilet a lot more than usual. He went to the doctor and a biopsy revealed he had prostate cancer.
He was told there was no need for him to have an operation, so instead he has regular tests to ensure the disease hasn’t spread.
“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 it’s not life threatening,” he insisted.
The actor is also due to have a cataract removed and has just been fitted for hearing aids.