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Ian McKellen Says He Has Had Prostate Cancer for Several Years (Updated)

The "Lord of the Rings" and "X-Men" star says his disease is not life threatening.

Ian McKellen, who reprises his "Lord of the Rings" role as Gandalf in "The Hobbit"  coming to theaters this Friday, has prostate cancer.

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The 73-year-old actor broke the news to the U.K.'s Daily Mirror in an interview published on Monday.

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

It was, however, a big deal when McKellen was first diagnosed.

"You do gulp when you hear the news," he added. "It’s like when you go for an HIV test, you go ‘arghhh is this the end of the road?’"

The actor's agent, Chris Andrews, denied in a report by ABC News that McKellen has prostate cancer. Andrews did not respond to requests for comment from TheWrap.

The disease is the third leading cause of cancer death in American men but the "X-Men" star is completely confident that his particular case is "not life threatening."

“Many, many men die from it but it’s one of the cancers that is totally treatable so I have ‘waitful watching,'" McKellen continued. "I am examined regularly and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading. I’ve not had any treatment.”

And that's about all he can do for now. Others diagnosed with cancer of the prostate "can have it zapped" or "snipped," he explains, but since the disease is showing no signs of spreading, he doesn't see the point in operating just yet.