By the gusto of his performances and larger than life energy in interviews, you'd never guess that star of the stage and screen, Sir Ian McKellan, had been battling prostate cancer for over 6 years. 

In an interview with the Mirror he spoke of his health problems with humour. "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, before explaining: "I've had prostate cancer for six or seven years. 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."

Sir McKellan's honesty is bound to give hope to many other sufferers around the world. He admits to a mixture of emotions, beginning with fear, but that it has been 'totally treatable' and also gave a few tips about healthy living including lots of exercise. "I am lucky," he said. "I don't have aches and pains. I do pilates regularly... and I recommend it to anyone. I always walk up the escalator on the tube and I live in a house with a lot of stairs." Adding "The wonderful thing about modern medicine is that so many of these complaints that used to signify old age and decline can be coped with." His main piece of advice though is to get tested and to keep getting tested.

In the midst of the hype around  the three movies of The Hobbit in which he stars as Gandalf, Ian McKellan is also starring in an ITV comedy called 'Vicious' alongside Derek Jacobi, as a gay couple living in Covent Garden.