Sir Ian McKellen goes public with his multi-year cancer battle

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Jul 4, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

At 73, Sir Ian McKellen is still an acting powerhouse. He's one of the most respected thespians of his generation, and he's done everything from Shakespeare to mega-blockbusters like X-Men and, most recently, The Hobbit. But despite all his energy, the actor says he's battled prostate cancer for years.

In a new interview with the U.K. paper The Daily Mirror, McKellen revealed that he's been dealing with the cancer "for six or seven years," and joked that his admission of the illness would only pile on to the image people have of him as a crusty old man (he was already dealing with cataracts and hearing problems).

"You are going to write 'Ian McKellen is decrepit. He can't see, he can't hear, he can't pee, he's having his teeth done,'" he said.

Though his illness is serious, McKellen said the cancer is "contained," and seemed optimistic that as long as he continued to monitor it, it wouldn't worsen.

"When you have got [cancer] 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 said. "Many, many men die from it but it's one of the cancers that is totally treatable so I have 'waitful watching.' I am examined regularly and it's just contained, it's not spreading. I've not had any treatment."

So McKellen seems to be in good spirits about what could be a very serious condition, and he also seems to be in reasonably good health. Here's hoping we have him around for many more years of great performances.

(Via Huffington Post)