Robert De Niro is usually intensely shy of publicity, but his spokesman had an unusually somber announcement to make on Monday: The 60-year-old actor has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, ''doctors say the condition was detected at an early stage because of regular checkups, a result of his proactive personal healthcare program,'' publicist Stan Rosenfeld said. He did not say when or where De Niro would be receiving treatment, but he did say that, ''because of early detection and his excellent physical condition, doctors project a full recovery.''
It wasn't clear to what extent the two-time Oscar winner intended to slow down his journeyman work ethic, which has had him filming two or three movies a year for the last several years, heading up the annual TriBeCa Film Festival, and keeping a hand in a number of restaurants. He has six pictures in various stages of development, including a thriller, ''Hide and Seek,'' due to start filming early next year. ''Obviously, things will need to be postponed a little bit,'' Rosenfeld said.