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Ian McKellen Has Battled Prostate Cancer for Six Years

December 11, 2012, 5:49 pm GMT

The 'Hobbit' star said he has not felt any pain whatsoever because he refused to skip exercise despite his age.

Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen has been hiding his health problem for the past "six or seven years". The "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" actor finally revealed in a new interview with Daily Mirror that he has prostate cancer which is not life-threatening when treated correctly.

"I've had prostate cancer for six or seven years," the 73-year-old actor told the magazine. "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."

He continued, "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, itís not spreading. I've not had any treatment."

McKellen suspected that something was wrong when he started making more frequent trips to the bathroom. So he got it checked. Revealing his first reaction when finding out about the disease, he admitted, "You do gulp when you hear the news. Itís like when you go for an HIV test, you go 'arghhh is this the end of the road?' They come and say you have cancer of the prostate and then they say you can have it zapped, you can have it snipped but you are not a candidate for that. You are waitful watching."

However, McKellen has been keeping his spirit alive. "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 said.

Saying he has not felt any aches or pain, McKellen thought he owed it to pilates and lots of stairs. "I always walk up the escalator on the [London subway] and I live in a house with a lot of stairs and that's good exercise," he said.

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