Veteran British chat show host Michael Parkinson has revealed that he is being treated for prostate cancer.

But the 78-year-old is undergoing radiotherapy for the disease and is upbeat about his prognosis as well as confident of returning to full health.

In an interview with the Press Association, he said: "It was a great shock, but I have been told to expect to make a full recovery."

Parkinson was diagnosed with the disease in May after a routine health check and his treatment involves five sessions of radiotherapy a week.

The journalist and interviewer said he was "in wonder" at the "marvellous" work of medical staff after initial thoughts of his own mortality.

"I had to start calling a few of my social engagements to tell them I couldn't do it – what do you say to them?

"When you are told you have something like cancer, it is a shock. But the cancer specialist said: 'I will assure you, you will not die of this. I am concerned about it, of course, but I am not frightened of it."

Parkinson urges men to pay greater attention to their health in order to catch potential diseases early – with a simple test to check for prostate cancer.

"The test is if you can pee against a wall from 2ft, you haven't got it," he said. "I don't want to trivialise it, but men know when there's a problem . . . Get it checked out."

Parkinson's career has seen him welcome the likes of Muhammad Ali, David Beckham and Rod Hull – with puppet Emu – on to his chatshows during a long career.

"I'm 78 and I have had a good life," he said. "When you get involved in this, you begin to understand the extraordinary work of those involved in treating cancer.

"You just sit and look at them in wonder. They do the most extraordinary things, and I am very grateful.

"I shall be around for a while yet, to the delight of my friends and the dismay of my enemies."