Author and broadcaster Stephen Fry has revealed he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
He had the operation in the first week of January, in which his prostate was removed along with 11 lymph nodes, to treat the “rather aggressive littler bugger”.
“For the last 2 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," the writer and performer said in a candid 13-minute YouTube video.
The 60-year-old “QI” host wanted to deliver the news “because rumours had begun to swirl”, with a newspaper asking about the situation, and so he wanted to “come clean”.
His doctor, and school friend, had discovered “something rather mischievous” during an annual health check when Fry visited for a flu jab. An MRI scan followed, before a diagnosis for prostate cancer was given, and an operation took place last month.
“In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been out of the public eye, I’m sure you haven’t, but I have been keeping my head down as much as possible, because obviously you want to get better without strangers – with the best intent in the world – sending you all kinds of cards and letters, because you have to answer them all,” he said.
He described the operation as like being “stabbed five times” and there was “traumatic effect” meaning he has taken some time to recover. “As far as we know, it’s all been got,” he said.
“In the end that’s a word that rings in your head, ‘cancer’. I know it’s a cliché… but cancer is something that happens to other people…. It’s one of our real taboo words.”
He also urged “men of a certain age” to have a PSA test, which analyses prostate specific antigen in the blood, indicating whether cancer is present.
A spokesperson for his publisher Michael Joseph told The Bookseller: "Stephen Fry has asked us to thank you for your response to the news about his recent dealings with prostate cancer. He is now abroad and will update with further news in his own time and own words and is politely and respectfully declining all requests for interviews."
Fry has written a number of books spanning a period of almost three decades. He has sold 2.51 million books for £21.6m, according to Nielsen Bookscan.
The most recently published, a retelling of the Greek myths, Mythos, was published by Michael Joseph in November and sold 92,919 in the run-up to Christmas.
His narration of audiobooks also dominated the 2017 chart with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection hitting Audible’s taking the number one slot while the Harry Potter series secured a second straight year of chart lockdown. Titles narrated by Fry took eight of the top 20 slots in Audible’s most popular downloads for 2017.
Fry has also been a vocal advocate in support of libraries, appearing in a poster campaign from the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), in 2016. He also starred in a BBC documentary, in the same year, on the history of public libraries and their current decline in and said that “libraries save lives”.