6 prostate cancer signs you need to know – as Friends star James Michael Tyler reveals he’s battling disease

FRIENDS star James Michael Tyler has revealed he has stage four prostate cancer and is paralysed from the waist down.

The 59-year-old played Central Perk manager Gunther on the sitcom for 10 seasons and this week said that the cancer has spread to his bones.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in British men and is the third deadliest cancer in the UK.

Prostate cancer currently kills 10,900 men-a-year, but Prostate Cancer UK warn that this number could surge to 15,000-a-year by 2026.

In the US prostate cancer is also the most common cancer in men and more than 47,500 men are diagnosed with it each year.

James said he decided to attend the Friends reunion show on Zoom rather than in person as he didn't want his cancer to be a "downer".

He explained that he was diagnosed with cancer in September 2018 after an annual check-up.

"I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones," he said.

"I've been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. It's stage 4. Late stage cancer."

"So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."

James revealed that doctors were initially optimistic but the cancer started mutating at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

"I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," he told viewers.

"So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic and so it's progressed."

As the TV star reveals his diagnosis, it's more important than ever that you know the signs of prostate cancer.

In most cases, prostate cancer doesn't have any symptoms until the growth is big enough to put pressure on the urethra – that tube you pee through.

Symptoms include:

  • Needing to urinate more often, especially at night
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty in starting to pee
  • Weak flow
  • Straining and taking a long time while peeing
  • Feeling that your bladder hasn't emptied fully

Many men's prostates get larger as they age because of the non-cancerous conditions, prostate enlargement and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

In fact, these two conditions are more common than prostate cancer – but that doesn't mean the symptoms should be ignored.

The signs that the cancer has spread include bone, back or testicular pain, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland, that only men have.

It sits around the urethra – the tube a bloke pees and ejaculates from – between the penis and the bladder.

The main point of the prostate is to produce the fluid which mixes with sperm to create semen – making it pretty vital for reproduction.

But, like all organs in the body, it can be invaded by cancer – when cells in the gland start to grow uncontrollably.

One in eight Brit blokes will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Many will live long lives and not experience too many nasty symptoms.

But in others, their cancer will spread, which is when the disease can turn deadly.

Prostate cancer currently kills 10,900 men-a-year, but Prostate Cancer UK warn that this number could surge to 15,000-a-year by 2026.

How is prostate cancer treated?

Assuming prostate cancer is caught in its early stages, treatment is not normally immediately necessary.

In these cases, doctors have a policy of "watchful waiting".

Treatment includes surgically removing the prostate, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

One man was cured after being given testosterone in an experimental trial designed to shock tumours to death.

While research suggests antidepressants stop prostate cancer spreading to the bones in 90 per cent of cases.

James said that by sharing his news, he hoped to raise awareness of the cancer and the vital signs to look out for.

He explained: “A lot of men, if they catch this early, it's easily treatable.

“I don't want people to have to go through what I've been going through. This is not… an easy process.

“My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday. I did that, May 28th. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news.

“That's my only reason for coming out like this and letting people know… That's my new role.”

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