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Apparently, Ian McKellen Doesn’t Have Prostate Cancer. Except He Kinda Does

Despite news reports that indicated Ian McKellen has been battling prostate cancer for the past several years, the Hobbit star’s agent says he’s in fine fiddle.

“No, he does not have prostate cancer,” McKellen’s agent, Chris Andrews told ABCNews.com, repudiating a story first reported in the UK. tabloid The Mirror. “That was taken out of context and from an interview from years ago.”

McKellen’s publicist confirmed the article, “was taken out of context.”

We’re not sure exactly what was out of context: The Mirror is not exactly the paper of record across the pond, but McKellen is pretty straightforward in his quotes:

“I’ve had prostate cancer for six or seven years,” he says. “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.

“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.”

…He admits at first he feared the worst but now he happily lives with the disease, undergoing frequent check-ups.

The star – looking tanned and healthy in his suite at Claridges ahead of tomorrow’s premiere of The Hobbit – admitted: “You do gulp when you hear the news. It’s like when you go for an HIV test, you go ‘arghhh is this the end of the road?”

On Wednesday, McKellen took to Twitter and essentially confirmed the Mirror story: “There have been reports in the press of the old news that I have early prostate cancer,” he tweeted. “This was diagnosed six or seven years ago. There is no cause for alarm. I am examined regularly and the cancer is contained. I’ve not needed any treatment.”

It’s likely McKellen’s people were trying to protect their client, or were concerned about confusion between having cancer and doctors finding precancerous cells. Though, y’know, it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing to have another celebrity spokesman for prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 6 men in America.

Well, whether Sir Ian has cancer, had cancer and is in remission, or never had it to begin with, we wish him the best of health.