Al Roker announced on Today Friday morning that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed.
During the latest broadcast of this popular program, the 66-year old weatherperson confirmed this diagnosis, explaining that he’ll undergo a procedure next week to help him overcome the disease.
Roker said he wanted to publicly share his health battle to raise awareness about the particular form of cancer, which affects one in nine men.
“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.”
It’s unclear just how much time off will be required, but he estimated on air that it’ll be about two weeks.
“It’s one of those things that it’s a little more common than people realize,” Roker continued.
“I just decided that I wanted to go public with this because one in nine men are gonna be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“But for African American men, that number is one in seven, and is more deadly.”
The television’s personality’s physician, Dr. Vincent Laudone, said Roker’s cancer “appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate,” adding 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.”
Reflecting on the moment he received the diagnosis, Roker told viewers:
“When he started, he closed his door and said, ‘I always like to have these discussions face to face.’
“And I was like, ‘Uh-oh. Well, that doesn’t sound good.'”
Roker will be undergoing the aforementioned surgery next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where Dr. Laudone will perform the procedure.
The father of three then had an MRI and a biopsy that confirmed the cancer on September 29.
Roker, who has been a mainstay on Today for decades, said he attended the doctor’s appointment alone … and regrets not having his wife of 25 years, Deborah Roberts, there with him.
“I feel badly, because I didn’t tell Deborah to come with me,” Roker said.
“In hindsight, boy I wish I’d told her to come. … She was upset. And once she got past that, the reporter in her kinda took over. And then she’s been at everything ever since.”
Roker also talked about returning to the set after the diagnosis and the “weird feeling” of his coworkers not seeing anything outwardly different about him.
“I looked in the mirror, there was nothing outwardly different.
“But I knew there was something intrinsically, inherently, internally different,” Roker noted.
“I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ because I’m gonna be okay.”
We very much hope so.