By Hillary Busis
December 11, 2012 at 03:20 PM EST
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Sir Ian McKellen has prostate cancer. The 73-year-old star of The Hobbit discussed his diagnosis with the Daily Mirror yesterday, saying that he has been suffering from the disease “for six or seven years.”

“When you have got it, you monitor it, and you have to be careful it doesn’t spread,” the two-time Oscar nominee explained to the Mirror. “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 … I am examined regularly, and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading. I’ve not had any treatment.”

McKellen also emphasized the importance of early detection, saying that there is no need for prostate cancer patients to have surgery unless the cancer spreads outside of the prostate. “I have heard of people dying from prostate cancer, and they are the unlucky ones, the people who didn’t know they had got it and it went on the rampage. But at my age if it is diagnosed, its not life threatening,” he said.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will premiere in theaters Dec. 14.

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Movie Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

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