Sir Ian McKellen has revealed he has been suffering from prostate cancer for the past six or seven years.
The 73-year-old – who played Gandalf in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey but did not attend the New Zealand premiere two weeks ago – says he does not see the diagnosis as life threatening and has not sought treatment.
“When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn't spread. But if it is contained in the prostate, it's no big deal," he told the Mirror.
Although he has come to accept his diagnosis now, he admits initially fearing the worst upon receiving the news.
"You do gulp when you hear the news," says Ian. "It's like when you go for an HIV test, you go, 'Arghhh, is this the end of the road?'
"Many, many die from it, but it's one of the cancers that is totally treatable so I have 'wasteful watching’. I am examined regularly and it's just contained, it's not spreading. I've not had any treatment,” the screen legend added.
Ian insists he is absolutely fine, maintains an active lifestyle and is otherwise in good health – aside from some hearing loss and cataracts.
“I do Pilates regularly and I recommend it to anyone of my age because the temptation is not to exercise when you get older," he says.