James Michael Tyler, Who Played Gunther on ‘Friends,’ Has Advanced Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, June 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Actor James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk waiter Gunther on ‘Friends,’ has revealed that he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in September 2018. Tyler is urging all men to get screened for the disease.

“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler said on “TODAY” on Monday, NBC News reported. “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.”

The 56-year-old actor said the stage 4 cancer was first detected during an annual checkup.

“I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen,” Tyler said.

“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 he was put on hormone therapy, which “worked amazingly for about a year,” and enabled him to “go about life regularly” while taking a regimen of three drugs, NBC News reported.

“All I had to do was take a pill in the morning and the night, and boom, life was pretty much normal,” said Tyler. “I had it then, but (was) able to function normally. I was feeling fine, honestly. I had no symptoms, I didn’t feel any symptoms. And it was very easy to regulate.”

However, the cancer eventually spread to his bone and spine, causing paralysis of the lower body. Tyler said he is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Screening and early diagnosis can lead to far better prognoses for prostate cancer patients, he emphasized.

“There are other options available to men if they catch it before me,” Tyler 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.”

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