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Tough battles Friends star James Michael Tyler reveals cancer diagnosis and joins celebs in raising awareness

The actor, who appeared in more Friends episodes than anyone except the six leads, said this was the reason he was unable to attend the Friends Reunion in person

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James Michael Tyler plays Gunther in the
iconic TV series Friends

James Michael Tyler plays Gunther in the iconic TV series Friends

Hugh Jackman had a mole removed.

Hugh Jackman had a mole removed.

Charlie Sheen told the world he was HIV positive.

Charlie Sheen told the world he was HIV positive.

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James Michael Tyler plays Gunther in the iconic TV series Friends

Friends fans were shocked this week when actor James Michael Tyler revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer.

The star  — who played Gunther in the iconic series  —  said in an interview on US TV that he has been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. While revealing the very difficult and personal news, Tyler bravely took the opportunity to raise awareness about the disease.

The actor, who appeared in more Friends episodes than anyone except the six leads, said this was the reason he was unable to attend the Friends Reunion in person.

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Lady Gaga suffers from fibromyalgia.

Lady Gaga suffers from fibromyalgia.

Lady Gaga suffers from fibromyalgia.

 

Originally diagnosed three years ago, he is currently undergoing chemotherapy. “I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen,” he told NBC’s Today Show.

“That came back at an extraordinarily high number... so I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there.

“Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said, ‘Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.’”

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James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in Friends, has been diagnosed with
stage four prostate cancer.

James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in Friends, has been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer.

James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in Friends, has been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer.

 

His cancer has since spread to his bones, and the star urged other men to get themselves checked out. “There are other options available to men if they catch it before me,” he said.

Tyler is the latest star to courageously tell his own story of ill health and use it to create public awareness.

It comes just weeks after the shocking collapse of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen during a European Championship match. While the unnerving news came about through circumstance rather than choice, Eriksen has since shared news of his recovery on social media. It’s prompted awareness of cardiac arrest and the importance of quick resuscitation and defibrillation.

Many celebrities have applied their personal struggles for the greater good by advocating for public support and information. They include Angelia Jolie, who made a decision to have a double mastectomy, and penned an opinion column for The New York Times.

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Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy.

Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy.

Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy.

 

Angelina revealed that her mother had cancer for ten years before dying at the age of 59.

Her grandmother also succumbed to the disease. She had the surgery after testing positive for a BRCA1 gene that greatly increases the risk of breast cancer.

Her revelation lead to a huge increase in the numbers of women going forward for genetic counselling and testing for breast cancer risk in what was dubbed the ‘Angelia Jolie effect’.

“Her doctor told me she had promised my mother that she would make sure I was informed about my medical options,” Jolie recalled in a later essay. “Years later, I was able to have a genetic test that revealed I carried a gene, the so-called BRCA1, that predisposes me to cancer. The test came too late for the other women in my family.”

Lady Gaga created public interest in the little-understood condition fibromyalgia. She cancelled a leg of her tour in 2017, revealing she was in “severe physical pain that has impacted on my ability to perform” and struggling with the condition which causes chronic widespread pain and can also lead to weakness and fatigue. She also opened up about her condition in a documentary film for Netflix.

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Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch last week.

Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch last week.

Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch last week.

 

In an interview with Vogue the following year, she spoke more about the disease, linked to the nervous system, which effects five million people worldwide. “I get so irritated with people who don’t believe fibromyalgia is real,” the singer said.

“For me, and I think for many others, it’s really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result.”

Demi Lovato has bravely spoken about her struggles with the eating disorder bulimia. The singer and actress has always been open about her issues with depression and substance use and first spoke about her bulimia to Ellen DeGeneres in 2019.

“Someone needs to stand up for people that don’t naturally look that way…I had to work my ass off every day in the gym, six days a week to, like, maintain that figure, and that led me only one way, and I don’t want to go down that path again,” she said on social media.

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Demi Lovato revealed her eating disorder.

Demi Lovato revealed her eating disorder.

Demi Lovato revealed her eating disorder.

 

Michael J Fox has raised tens of millions for Parkinsons.

He launched a charitable foundation for the disease, which attacks the nervous system, after going public on his 1991 diagnosis, at the age of just 29, seven years later. “It took me a long time to get my act together and start addressing it,” he said in an interview last year.

“It’s such an insidious disease, because when you’re first diagnosed, what you’re presenting is relatively minor. I had a twitching pinky and a sore shoulder.”

Hugh Jackman sparked conversations about skin cancer when he posted a photo of himself on Instagram following the removal of a basal cell carcinoma.

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Actor Michael J Fox has had Parkinsons since his twenties.

Actor Michael J Fox has had Parkinsons since his twenties.

Actor Michael J Fox has had Parkinsons since his twenties.

He has posted several times since, urging others to keep a close check on their skin. Last year he posted: “Another basal cell carcinoma. Thanks to frequent body checks and amazing doctors, all is well. Looks worse with the dressing on than off, I swear! #wearsunscreen.”

When Charlie Sheen revealed his HIV diagnosis in 2015, Magic Johnson, who also has HIV, was one of the first to encourage him,

Tweeting: “With the advancement in treatments and medicine he can fight this disease and live a long life.” Sheen’s revelation sparked awareness about latest treatment options and led to an increase in home HIV tests.

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