Friends' James Michael Tyler opens up about his battle with prostate cancer

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Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman - Getty Images

Friends star James Michael Tyler has opened up about his ongoing battle with stage 4 prostate cancer.

Talking with TODAY's Craig Melvin on Monday (June 21) the actor, who played Central Perk manager Gunther in the beloved US sitcom, explained that he was diagnosed back in September 2018 and how his symptoms were mild at first. Sadly though, it has since spread to his bones, and led to the paralysis of the lower part of his body.

"All I had to do was take a pill in the morning and the night, and boom, life was pretty much normal," recalled Tyler, noting how he embarked on hormone therapy beforehand. "I was feeling fine, honestly, and it was very easy to regulate."

Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman - Getty Images

Related: This Friends LEGO Central Perk set is on sale in limited-time Amazon Prime Day deal

"I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing," Tyler went on, disclosing that he is now undergoing chemotherapy. "So the cancer decided to mutate at the time of the pandemic, and so it's progressed.

"There are other options available to men if they catch it before me," he said. "Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly check-up, 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."

The 58-year-old continued on to say that his "new role" is to encourage people to get tested, even if it means he'll "save just one life."

Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images

Related: Friends fans have one complaint about reunion

During the interview, Tyler talked about how his health impacted his involvement in Friends: The Reunion, a one-off HBO Max special that saw the cast and several special guests come together to discuss the comedy series' legacy.

"I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities," he said. "It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included."

Friends streams on Netflix in the UK, where it also airs daily on Comedy Central. In the US, you can stream the show on HBO Max. The Friends reunion special is available on Sky and NOW in the UK, and HBO Max in the US.

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