In anyone’s list of living British legends, Stephen Fry would have to be high up there.
An incredible writer, actor, comedian and presenter, his output, during 60 years on this planet, is nothing short of phenomenal.
So it’s certain that the nation will be concerned to hear of his latest adventure: a fight against prostate cancer.
In January, he stepped down as host of the BAFTAs, with Joanna Lumley replacing him, and, with speculation running wild about his lack of public activity recently, he decided to reveal all about his health in a 12-minute long video.
“For the last two months I’ve been in the throes of a rather unwelcome and unexpected adventure. I’m sorry I haven’t felt able to talk about it till now, but here I am explaining what has been going on.”
His diagnosis came about following his annual full health check, when his doctor noticed unusually high levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). A subsequent MRI scan revealed that there were cancerous tissues in his prostate and the decision was made to operate.
He went under the knife in the first week of January where the prostate was removed, along with 11 lymph nodes - tests conducted showed that, in Fry’s words, “This was clearly quite an aggressive little bugger”.
After that came a recovery process, which he decided to keep as private as possible.
However, he explained that he has the same thoughts as anyone else confronted with the disease, saying:
“Cancer is a word that rings in your head. ‘I’ve got cancer’ I kept saying to myself, good heavens. You’re not the sort of person who gets cancer. I know it’s a cliche but you don’t think it’s going to happen to you, cancer is something that happens to other people.”
He added, “As far as we know, it’s all been ‘got’,” and that, “for the moment I’m fit and well and happy.”
Toward the end of the video he said:
“I would urge any of you men of a certain age to think about getting your PSA levels checked… I can’t tell you how fortunate I am,” before explaining that one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their life, rising to one in four “if you’re of African descent”.
He finished on a positive note, saying:
“I’m bloody lucky, lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people, lucky to have had such an incredible team working with me and for me and lucky of course to have an immune system because that’s the real hero of these things, it’s the recovery which is so phenomenal from an operation.
“Here’s hoping I get a few years left on this planet because I enjoy life at the moment and that’s a marvellous thing to be able to say, and I’d rather it didn’t go away.”
Here’s hoping for many more years to come Stephen. Oh, and by the way, that’s a cracking library you’ve got.