British gay acting legend Sir Ian McKellen has spoken out about how he ‘feared the worst’ after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The 73-year-old Hobbit and X-Men star has revealed he has had it for ‘six or seven years’.
‘You do gulp when you hear the news,’ he told the Daily Mirror. ‘It’s like when you go for an HIV test, you go “Arghh is this the end of the road?”’
‘Many, many men die from it but it’s one of the cancers that is totally treatable so I have “waitful watching”.
McKellen added: ‘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.’
The actor realized something was wrong when he had to go to the toilet repeatedly in the night. When he saw a doctor, he was told after a biopsy he had cancerous cells.
He said: ‘What [the doctors] are concerned about is the cancer spreading outside the prostate. If it doesn’t, you are fine.
‘How do you know if it is spreading? You keep being tested.’
A veteran gay rights campaigner, McKellen is currently promoting his new film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
He has also started rehearsing for his first sitcom with fellow gay actor Sir Derek Jacobi, who he has known since university, where they play a bickering elderly gay couple living in London.
‘He denies having a crush on me but I certainly had a crush on him,’ McKellen said. ‘He was a very attractive young man. If things had been different maybe we would be the couple in the sitcom.’
The sitcom, tentatively titled Vicious Old Queens, is expected to air summer 2013.