James Michael Tyler who played Gunther in the iconic sitcom
Friends, recently revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The actor told Today Show that he was first diagnosed in September 2018 during his annual checkup, but it was caught relatively late and has spread to his bones and spine.
James revealed the cancer is now at stage 4, and said, “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. … It’s stage 4 (now). Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
The actor also said that with hormone therapy he was able to go about his regular day for almost a year after the diagnosis, but things are different now. “All I had to do was take a pill in the morning and the night, and boom, life was pretty much normal,” he said.
At the time, James had been a part of several Friends-related events but didn’t pursue many acting projects. “I had it then, but (was) able to function normally. I was feeling fine, honestly. I didn’t feel any symptoms. And it was very easy to regulate,” but during the pandemic, the cancer metastasized and it led to paralysis in his lower body.
The actor who is currently on an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy said that it is important for men to get regular prostate cancer screenings, in order to avoid catching anything too late. Talking about what else can be done he said, “There are other options available for men if they catch it before me. 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.”
Notably, Tyler had also made an appearance in the HBO Max’s
Friends: The Reunion
through a Zoom call. He revealed that he was set to be a part of it and be on stage, but it didn’t work out in the end as he couldn’t travel due to his treatment.
“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 wanna bring a downer on it, you know ? … I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer’,” he explained.
Story first published: Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 10:48 [IST]