Sir Ian McKellen Reveals he has Prostate Cancer; FDA Approves use of Zytiga for Pre-Chemotherapy Prostate Cancer Patients

UPDATE: Sir Ian McKellen, well-known British actor, has announced today that he has prostate cancer, and has had it for the last six or seven years, adding that the disease was not life-threatening.

“The Hobbit,” and “The Lord of the Rings” actor revealed this new information in an interview published today by the Daily Mirror tabloid.

“I’ve had prostate cancer for six or seven years,” McKellen told the Daily Mirror. “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.”

“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.”

Sir Ian McKellen is 73 years old.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday expanded the approved use of Johnson and Johnson’s Zytiga prostate cancer medicine to treat men with metastatic or late-stage prostate cancer prior to receiving chemotherapy.

The FDA had previously approved Zytiga in combination with the steroid prednisone for patients with metastatic or late-stage castration resistant prostate cancer who had already received chemotherapy.

The initial approval of Zytiga came in April 2011, and was approved for patients whose prostate cancer had progressed after chemotherapy treatment.

Zytiga is a prostate cancer pill that decreases the production of the male sexual hormone testosterone.

Decreased production of testosterone is essential in prostate cancer patients, and castration is one of the therapies used to reduce testosterone production. However in some men testosterone continues to be produced and this therapy, using the Johnson & Johnson drug Zytiga to decrease production of testosterone, had only been previously used in prostate cancer patients who had already received chemotherapy.

Prostate cancer forms in the prostate gland of the male reproductive system. Generally prostate cancer is slow growing, with some men never detecting any symptoms of the disease. There are cases of aggressive prostate cancer howeve,r and the cancer cells metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the human body especially the bones and the lymph nodes.

Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
  • Frequent urination at night.
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Pain in the back area the hips or the pelvis that won’t go away.
  • Painful ejaculation.

Two thirds of all prostate cancer patients notice no symptoms whatsoever, however there are some signs related to benign prostatic hyperplasia, more commonly referred to as enlarged prostate.

There is no scientific general understanding of the causes of prostate cancer and the primary risk factors are obesity age and family genetic history. Prostate cancer in men under 45 is rare but becomes more common with the advancement of age. The average age of men at the time of their diagnosis is 70 years old, however many men never know they have prostate cancer before they die, and it isn’t discovered until after their death.

Foreign studies indicate the prevalence of prostate cancer in men who died from other causes is 30% in men in their 50s and 80% of men in their 70s.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men regardless of your race or ethnicity. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2008, 214,633 men in the United States were diagnosed with the disease, with 28,471 deaths attributed to prostate cancer.

Family history plays a big role in contracting prostate cancer as certain genes inherited from your parents may affect your prostate cancer risk.Men with first-degree family members with prostate cancer have twice the risk of getting the disease compared to men without a family history of prostate cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise may be contributing factors to the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Numerous treatment options are available for battling prostate cancer, and you and your doctor should discuss these options and find out which one is right for you. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of prostate cancer you should seek care from a medical professional immediately.

Article by Jim Donahue

3 Responses to "Sir Ian McKellen Reveals he has Prostate Cancer; FDA Approves use of Zytiga for Pre-Chemotherapy Prostate Cancer Patients"

  1. Doug   December 11, 2012 at 6:36 am

    “however many men never know they have prostate cancer until after their death.” Bet they don’t know either.

    • GM   December 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

      Thanx Doug, You are on point. Enjoy!


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