Today co-host Al Roker has announced that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed. Roker shared his diagnosis in a segment on the show Friday morning to help bring awareness to the disease, which they reported affects one in seven African American men in their lifetime. Roker, 66, says he found out in September after a routine checkup led to more tests. “It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” Roker said. “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.” The surgery will take place next week in New York City and “hopefully in about two weeks,” the beloved host and weatherman will be back on Today. “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,” his surgeon Dr. Vincent Laudone said.
Roker urges others at risk, particularly Black men, to make sure they get the medical care they need to also catch a cancer early. Dr. Carol Brown, a cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, told Today that African American men are 50 percent more likely to get prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it than white men in the United States. “The problem for African American men is any number of reasons from genetics to access to health care,” Roker said. “And so we want to make it available and let people know they got to get checked.”