I’ve got some sad news Today show fans. The beloved Al Roker has announced he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will now be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed. The 66-year-old Today weatherman and co-star told his co-workers he wanted to publicly reveal his diagnosis to ‘spotlight the fact’ that one in seven African American men, one and nine men overall, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
On Friday morning Roker stated, “It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing. Good news is we caught it early. The bad news is that it’s a little aggressive, so I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this.” Roker stated he will be undergoing surgery next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center located in New York City, where Dr. Vincent Laudone will be performing the procedure. Staying positive, Roker stated that he’ll just have to wait and see, and hopefully in two weeks you’ll be back on the NBC show.
Al Roker Reveals Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
According to Laudone, Roker’s cancer appears to be limited or confined to the prostate, but because it is more aggressive doctors want to treat it as soon as possible. After a discussion regarding all the different options he had, which included focal therapy and surgery radiation, they ultimately settled on removing the prostate overall.
The Today show co-host decided to share his journey on the morning tv show to urge others at risk, particularly Black men, to make sure that they see a doctor and get the proper routine check-up one needs to stop cancer that is treatable if detected early. He noted, “The problem for African American men is that there are any number of reasons from genetics to access to health care, and so we want to make it available and let people know they have to get checked.”
Al Roker Shares the News on Twitter
I want to thank everyone sending all the good thoughts, wishes and prayers our way. Looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks. https://t.co/Pzjkc9MqkG
— Al Roker (@alroker) November 6, 2020
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, they recommend African-American males talk to their doctors about being screened for prostate cancer at the age of 40. The American Cancer Society recommends discussing screening at the age of 45 for African-American males, and men who have had a brother or father diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends all men ages 55 to 69 to talk to their doctors about being screened.
According to Carol Brown, who is a cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, there are no symptoms with early prostate cancer, meaning screenings can save a life. The father of three stated that the detection of his prostate cancer began with a routine physical when his doctor then discovered he had an elevated prostate-specific antigen, PSA, in his blood work.
This led the meteorologist to get an MRI which was followed by a biopsy to confirm his diagnosis. He was alone when he received the diagnosis after telling his wife ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts not to come, saying he knew she would be upset. The Today show hosts went took to social media to thank everyone for their good thoughts, tweeting, “I want to thank everyone for sending all the good thoughts, wishes and prayers our way. Looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks.”