Al Roker revealed on the Today show on Friday that he's been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the famous forecaster is remaining optimistic. During the broadcast, the 66-year-old said that he's set to undergo surgery next week to have his prostate removed, and his recovery will necessitate some time off from television. Roker also stressed that he wanted to publicly reveal his diagnosis to help increase prostate cancer awareness, which affects 1 in 7 African American men and 1 in 9 men overall in their lifetime.
"It's a good news-bad news kind of thing," Roker said on the show. "Good news is we caught it early. Not great news is that it's a little aggressive, so I'm going to be taking some time off to take care of this." Roker will be treated by Dr. Vincent Laudone at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Also appearing on the program, Laudone spoke about Roker's diagnosis and the surgery he'll be undergoing next week.
"Fortunately, his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate, but because it's more aggressive, we wanted to treat it, and after discussion regarding all of the different options - surgery, radiation, focal therapy - we settled on removing the prostate," Laudone said. For his part, Roker is also staying positive, adding that he hopes to be back on the Today show performing his duties by the end of the month.
"We'll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I'll be back," Roker stated.
Additionally, Roker stresses that Black men are particularly at risk for prostate cancer, urging others to get checked at the doctor regularly to stop a cancer from spreading if it's detected early. It is recommended by the Prostate Cancer Foundation that African American men talk to their doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer starting at age 40. Cancer surgeon Dr. Carol Brown also said on Today that Black men are 50% more likely to get prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it compared to white men.
"Another important message to know is that there are no symptoms with early prostate cancer," Brown said on the show. "So screening saves lives, and African American men need to get screened and should get screened usually starting at age 40."
It was at the end of September when Roker discovered he had prostate cancer during a routine physical after his doctor noticed an elevated prostate-specific antigen in his bloodwork. He then confirmed his diagnosis through an MRI and biopsy. Roker returned to work on Today the very day after receiving his diagnosis, and even now, he insists that he doesn't want people feeling sorry for him.
"I don't want people thinking, 'Oh, poor Al,' you know, because I'm gonna be OK," Al said on Today.
Maybe Roker isn't asking for it, but he's still getting a large outpouring of support on social media following the reveal of his prostate cancer diagnosis. In a response post on Twitter, Roker noted, "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." See you then, Al, and here's to a speedy recovery! This news comes to us from The official today.com website.