Sir Ian McKellen revealed he has prostate cancer during an interview with UK’s The Daily Mirror. The esteemed Oscar-nominated actor, best known to audiences as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, a role he’ll revisit once again in the upcoming film The Hobbit, told the paper he has been battling prostate cancer for “six or seven years.”
McKellen — who recently signed on to bring back another one of his beloved characters, Magneto, for the next X-Men film —admitted, “You do gulp when you hear the news. It’s like when you go for an HIV test — you go ‘Argh, is this the end of the road?’ … 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.”
The 73-year-old, who realized something was wrong when he had to frequently use the bathroom, seems to have a positive outlook on his diagnosis, rather than look at it as a death sentence. “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 its not life threatening,” he said.
The Hobbit star says he will do a “waitful watching” with his prostate cancer. “You are told what the situation is: you can have an operation but there is no point in me having an operation because there is no need for it,” McKellen says. Instead, McKellen assures, “I am examined regularly and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading. I’ve not had any treatment.” You can read his entire frank, open interview with The Daily Mirror here.
McKellen is expected to attend the UK premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this Wednesday, while the film opens in theaters in the U.S. on Friday.
[Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]