21st Jun 2021
Friends star James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk waiter Gunther, has said he has stage four prostate cancer.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, the 59-year-old revealed he was diagnosed in September 2018 after a routine physical examination.
The cancer has advanced and since spread to the actor’s bones and he can no longer walk. He is undergoing chemotherapy and has urged other men to get checked for PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen), which screens for prostate cancer.
He said the condition can be “easily treatable” if caught early, saying: “I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been through. Eventually, it’s gonna probably get me,” he told host Craig Melvin.
Almost 4,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in Ireland. This means that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Actor James Michael Tyler (@slate_michael) played Gunther on “Friends” for 10 years, but he was unable to attend the recent cast reunion in person because he’s been battling a serious health issue. Now he’s sharing his news for the first time with @craigmelvin. pic.twitter.com/272tg4Sbvc
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 21, 2021
It was during some routine testing three years ago, he received his abnormal results. “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is Prostate-Specific Antigen. “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,” he said, speaking about his diagnosis.
“Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said, ‘I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'”
He also explained his cancer stopped him from appearing in person during last month’s Friends reunion, which he instead joined via Zoom.
“It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included. It was my decision not to be a part of that physically and make an appearance on Zoom, basically, because I didn’t want to bring a downer on it?”
“There are other options available to men if they catch it before me,” he said. “My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday.
“I did that. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news.”