‘Friends’ Star James Michael Tyler Opened Up About His Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis

"Early detection can make all the difference."

James Michael Tyler, perhaps best known for playing the grumpy yet totally-head-over-heels-for-Rachel Central Perk waiter Gunther on Friends, has just opened up about his battle with prostate cancer, telling Today, “It’s gonna probably get me.”

“I’m sorry to say that I’m not appearing with you today to announce that there’s going to be a Friends movie,” Tyler, who was unable to attend the recent Friends reunion on HBO Max in person due to his diagnosis, joked to Today. “In September of 2018, I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones.”

Tyler did appear at the reunion special via Zoom and tried to keep the atmosphere light. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.'” However, he confirmed to Today that the Friends producers and most of the cast members already knew of his cancer battle ahead of his appearance.

“Early detection can make all the difference,” Tyler wrote in a June 21st Instagram caption. Tyler’s prostate cancer was first found during a routine physical in which he received his first Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. Though doctors recommend men between the ages of 40 and 45 get PSA tested, Tyler waited until he was 56 to get his first PSA screening. “I would have gone in earlier,” he told Today.

My specific prognosis is of course a stage 4, late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.

“Next time you go in for just a basic exam, please ask your doctor for a PSA test,” Tyler told those watching his interview. “[If prostate cancer] is caught early, it’s 99% treatable.”

He said that if he can save at least one life with this piece of advice, it will all be worth it.

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