RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE bassist Tim Commerford has revealed in a new interview with SPIN that he recently had his prostate removed after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The procedure took place two months before the band's recent summer tour, which marked RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's first set of live dates since in 11 years.
"I've been someone that's taken a lot of pride in being in shape and taking care of myself," the 54-year-old musician said. "But it's something where either you're either lucky or not."
Asked how he has kept a positive outlook throughout the whole ordeal, Tim said: "You can find yourself in a situation like I'm in where it's, like, fuck, my whole life changed. With everything that happens to me now, I wonder, am I feeling this way because I have cancer? Am I losing my hair because I have cancer? Whatever it is, it makes me wonder if it's happening because I have cancer. And prostate cancer is a very, very, very tough one because it's connected to your sexuality. It's hard to disconnect from that and when you're forced into that situation, it's a brutal psychological journey. I've been trying to find support groups, and it's hard to find people and hard to talk about it. The suffering part of it, the physical suffering after the surgery, I've never felt pain quite like that. I have metal plates in my head and cadaver parts in my body. I've done a lot of damage through sports and mountain biking and this sort of thing and I've always felt like I had a really high tolerance for pain, and that shit brought me to my knees. After the pain went away, I still haven't really been able to get up, even though I'm working out and doing shit, but psychologically, the damage is severe. It's very hard for me to not break down and get emotional."
Regarding how he found out he was sick, Tim said: "I went to get life insurance but my PSA numbers were up. I couldn't get it. They wouldn't insure me. At first, the number was very low — like one-point-something. I watched it over the course of a year and a half, and it kept elevating further. Eventually, they did a biopsy and found out I had cancer, so they took my prostate out. I had been thinking, well, because they're watching it and let it get to this point, maybe it's not that big of a deal. I blame myself. I should have said, 'my numbers are elevated and what does that really mean?' I should have taken it more seriously. I should have looked into alternate therapy instead of getting sucked into the most disgusting, capitalistic machine on the face of the planet: the medical establishment. Now I'm in the situation that I'm in, which is, hold your breath for six months. It's not a good one and not one that I'm happy about. I'm just trying to grab ahold of the reins. It's gonna be a long journey, I hope. My dad died in his early 70s from cancer and my mom died from cancer in her 40s. Split the difference to 65 and I've got 10 years. I'm trying to get to the 100-song mark — I have some goals now. Songwriting has become a catharsis for me."
Although prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer found in men and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, it can also be one of the most treatable forms of cancer.
If elevated PSA is identified early, there are treatment options that have been shown to extend survival. It is important for men to be informed about different treatment options and their side effect profile so that they can have educated treatment conversations with their doctor.
On average, approximately one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Commerford recently joined forces with Mathias Wakrat and Jonny Polonsky to form a new trio, 7D7D. The band's debut track, "Capitalism", was released last month via Mad Bunny Records.
Raised in Irvine, California, Tim learned the bass and began to channel a tough childhood into music. By the time he was in his early 20s, he was in RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Tim was also in AUDIOSLAVE (where he met Jonny) and PROPHETS OF RAGE.