Actor James Michael Tyler who played the iconic role of coffee shop, “Central Perk” employee Gunther on American sitcom “Friends” recently opened up about his private battle with cancer.
During an appearance on the Today show the 59-year-old revealed that he has been struggling with stage four prostate cancer since September of 2018. Talking about the diagnosis he said: “I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones.” “I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It’s stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
“I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen,” he explained. “That came back at an extraordinarily high number … So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.’”
He said that the treatment he underwent “worked amazingly for about a year.” “All I had to do was take a pill in the morning and the night, and boom, life was pretty much normal,” he said. “I was feeling fine, honestly. I had no symptoms, I didn’t feel any symptoms. And it was very easy to regulate.” The cancer unfortunately spread to his bones right around the time the pandemic started, leading to paralysis in the lower half of his body. “I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing,” he said. “So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it’s progressed.”
Tyler is currently undergoing chemotherapy which is “aggressively” fighting the cancer. However, he wanted to emphasize that screening and early diagnosis can lead to far better prognoses.
“There are other options available to men if they catch it before me,” he said. “Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It’s easily detectable. … If it spreads beyond the prostate to the bones, which is most prevalent in my form, it can be a lot more difficult to deal with.”