Just in the knick of time. Al Roker announced on the Today show that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City next week.
“It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” the 66-year-old weatherman said on Friday, November 6. “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.”
“We’ll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I’ll be back [on Today],” he said.
Dr. Vincent Laudone — Roker’s doctor — revealed that “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.”
The television personality wanted to be honest with viewers about what he’s been going through to shed light on the fact that 1 in 7 African American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“The problem for African American men is that any number of reasons from genetics to access to health care, and so we want to make it available and let people know they got to get checked,” he explained.
While Roker was getting a physical, his doctor told him he had an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in his bloodwork. As a result, Roker got an MRI and a biopsy, which led to the doctor telling him he had cancer.
“When he started, he closed his door and said, ‘I always like to have these discussions face to face,'” Roker recalled about the moment, which took place on September 29. “And I was like, ‘Uh-oh. Well, that doesn’t sound good.'”
“You hear the word ‘cancer’ and your mind goes, it’s the next level, you know?” he shared.
The father of three was alone when the doctor told him the news, but he “wish[ed]” he told his wife, Deborah Roberts, to come with him to the appointment. “She was upset. And once she got past that, the reporter in her kinda took over,” he confessed. “And then she’s been at everything ever since!”
Following the diagnosis, Roker went back to work. “This one was kind of just a weird feeling that nobody can outwardly see anything different about me,” he said. “I looked in the mirror, there was nothing outwardly different. But I knew there was something intrinsically, inherently, internally different.”
“I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ you know, because I’m gonna be OK,” he added. “You know what? If that’s what it takes to get 2020 out, then let’s just get it outta the way. Boom! Let’s just finish it off. I’m ready. How about you?”
We’re wishing Roker all the best!
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