William Shatner has achieved great success over his illustrious career. Renowned for his iconic portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk in the “Star Trek” series, he even experienced space travel in real life. However, his battle with a terminal illness cast a shadow over these triumphs, making it a challenge to reach his 90th birthday.

William Shatner, the Star Trek actor, has eight albums to his name and has distinguished himself in the acting and music worlds. Despite his accomplishments, the star’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In an article for NBC, Shatner highlighted how he had led a very fortunate life but had also experienced death in many ways. When he was given a grim prognosis, the

 celebrity understandably became concerned that his days were numbered.

“I was informed by a doctor that I had a fatal condition, that my life was nearing its end,” Shatner shared with NBC. “I didn’t know how to respond. We even started planning my funeral.”

“The doctor informed me that I had cancer. I reasoned that there had to be an error.”

Prostate cancer often develops slowly, and symptoms may not emerge until the prostate enlarges enough to block the tube that drains urine from the bladder.

Shatner’s doctor performed a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to identify his type of cancer. These tests help assess the severity of the cancer and whether elevated PSA levels are due to other non-cancerous conditions.

“He tested my PSA, a marker for this type of cancer, to determine its nature,” Shatner explained regarding his diagnosis.

“Until then, it had been one or two, which is within the normal range. He revealed it was ten. ‘Aggressive cancer,’ the doctor declared. Ten! I felt betrayed by my own body.”

Shocked, horrified, and angry at the diagnosis, Shatner quickly confronted the possibility of death.

“I understood my prognosis; I had already drafted my will, assigning my belongings to various people upon my death,” he said.

“But emotionally, I believed I’d live forever. I fought against it. It meant acknowledging my mortality every time I wanted to enjoy something simple, like a piece of strudel. Death was abstract to me.”

As he grappled with the weight of his diagnosis, Shatner learned that the testosterone supplements he had been taking might be linked to prostate cancer in some instances.

“I wondered if I should stop taking the supplements.” “Yes,” he replied, “that would be a great idea.”

During their research, investigators in Baltimore, USA, analyzed blood samples from 759 men, 111 of whom had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The study found that men over 55 were more susceptible to prostate cancer, suggesting a correlation between increased testosterone levels and a higher risk of developing the disease.

However, a contrasting study from the University of Oxford indicated that while high testosterone levels did not increase the risk of prostate disease, low levels could actually diminish it. Researchers observed that the body has a finite number of androgen receptors, and once these are saturated, additional testosterone in the bloodstream becomes irrelevant, as it cannot bind to any more receptors. This conclusion was drawn from examining blood samples from about 19,000 men, 6,900 of whom developed prostate cancer.

The findings suggested that low testosterone levels might reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but high levels do not increase it—a pattern that applied to Shatner as well.

“Three months later, I took another PSA test, and it had dropped to one,” Shatner recalled. “The doctor believed the previous high PSA was influenced by testosterone supplements.”

“The sensitivity of that test sometimes detects even minor abnormalities, which along with the PSA results, initially made me think my life was in immediate danger. I was relieved to find out I didn’t actually have cancer. Now, I’m back to not dying—at least not right now.”

The NHS notes that “false-positive” results are common with PSA tests and that a combination of blood tests, physical exams, MRI scans, or biopsies provide more reliable screening for prostate cancer.

Symptoms warranting a doctor’s visit include frequent and urgent needs to urinate, especially at night, difficulty starting urination, weak flow, or feeling that the bladder isn’t fully emptied. Presence of blood in urine or semen also necessitates medical consultation.

If diagnosed with prostate cancer, patients will be counseled on optimal treatment strategies, which may range from “watchful waiting” in early stages to surgery and radiotherapy if the condition progresses.

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