Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Explained as 'Friends' Actor James Michael Tyler Dies

Friends star James Michael Tyler passed away on Sunday after a battle with prostate cancer.

The 59-year-old actor, who rose to fame as coffee shop manager Gunther, was first diagnosed with the illness in 2018.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the U.S,, after breast cancer.

In terms of mortality, prostate cancer is the third most deadly form of cancer in the US. after breast cancer and the most deadly form of cancer in the country, lung cancer. This means that out of every 100 men in the U.S. 13 will get prostate cancer and between 2 and 3 will die as a result of the condition.

While all men are at risk of prostate cancer, the CDC says the most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the more likely they are to suffer from prostate cancer.

The American Cancer Society says that prostate cancer is rare in men under 40, but the chance of developing the disease increases rapidly once men reach 50. The over-60 account for over half of prostate cancer cases.

The CDC also says African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are twice as likely to die as a result of the condition than other men.

Different sufferers of prostate cancer can experience different symptoms, with some men experiencing no symptoms at all. The CDC advises that the most common signs of prostate cancer can be difficulty to urinate, weak or interrupted flow of urine, difficulty emptying the bladder completely.

Sufferers of prostate cancer may also find themselves having to urinate more frequently at night, experience pain while urinating, and could even have blood in their urine or semen. Ejaculation may also become painful.

The CDC says that men with prostate cancer may also experience pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that does not go away.

Treatment of prostate cancer could involve surgery to remove the prostate, radiotherapy to kill the cancer cells, or chemotherapy.

For cases when doctors believe that prostate cancer is unlikely to grow quickly, the CDC says monitoring may be chosen to observe if symptoms develop. They will also monitor the cancer to see if it spreads from the prostate to other areas of the body.

Though best known for his role as the admirer of Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Anniston, in 56 episodes of Friends, Tyler also made appearances on shows such as Scrubs, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Just Shoot Me!

After Friends ended in 2004, he would go on to act alongside one of the show's stars, Matt LeBlanc, again in the comedy series Episodes in 2012.

Tyler revealed that he was suffering from stage IV prostate cancer in June of this year, and said that it was the reason he had decided only to appear on the Friends Reunion show virtually.

Tyler's cancer had spread to his bones and spine and had left him unable to walk, Newsweek reported at the time.

Tyler's representative Toni Benson said in a statement: "The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh "Friend"), from the hit series Friends, but Michael's loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband."

James Michael Tyler
Friends star James Michael Tyler celebrates the show's 20th Anniversary in on September 16, 2014 in New York City. The actor who played Gunther in the show passed away on Sunday. Paul Zimmerman/getty