Friends star James Michael Tyler reveals cancer diagnosis

Friends star James Michael Tyler reveals cancer diagnosis
James Michael Tyler (Ian West/PA)

Friends star James Michael Tyler has revealed he has prostate cancer.

The actor, 59, who played Gunther in the hit comedy series, told US show Today he was diagnosed with an advanced form of the condition in 2018 which had spread to his bones.

He urged other men to get screened for prostate cancer as he revealed his diagnosis.

(Ian West/PA)

He told Today: “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.”

Tyler said the cancer is “eventually… going to probably get me”.

Discussing his diagnosis, he added: “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.

“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’.”

Tyler urged men to ask their doctors for a PSA test, which screens for prostate cancer.

He said the condition can be “easily treatable” if caught early, adding: “I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve been through.”

Tyler said his cancer stopped him from appearing in person during last month’s Friends reunion, which he instead joined via videolink.

“I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities,” he said.

“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, you know?”

Tyler, who played a coffee shop worker in Friends, added his illness has made him realise “how important every moment is, every day”.

He added it is important to “keep fighting” and “not give up”.

“Set goals,” he said. “My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday.

“I did that, May 28. My goal now is to help save at least one life by coming out with this news.”

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