Al Roker made a public revelation on Friday (November 6), alerting America and his TODAY Show co-workers he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The 66-year-old Roker will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed and explained he publicly wanted to reveal his diagnosis due to the fact 1 in 7 Black men and 1 in 9 men overall will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“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. We’ll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I’ll be back (on TODAY).”
Roker’s doctor, Vincent Laudone said his cancer hadn’t spread to other areas of his body.
“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.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends Black men talk to their doctor about being screened for prostate cancer at age 40. The American Cancer Society recommends discussing screenings at age 45 for Black men and women and men who have had a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer before 65. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends all men ages 55-69 talk to their doctors about being screened.
“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,” Roker said.