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Al Roker Reveals He Has Been Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

Hearts were shattered across America the morning of Nov. 6 when Al Roker revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis. The beloved 66-year-old TODAY weatherman announced last Friday that he had received the news back in September, following a routine check-up. He followed this revelation, stating, “It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing. 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 to take care of this.” Roker remained fairly optimistic. Roker is set for surgery to get his prostate removed entirely and is prepared to fight this disease.

He attributes his reasoning behind going public with such personal information to raising awareness for men, specifically African American men. He informs viewers that one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. However, for African American men, this number drops to one in seven and has a more fatal outcome. Roker insists he wants to use his journey for educational purposes to protect and inform men. He urges all men to get proper checkups routinely because, if detected early, the disease is extremely treatable.

Doctor's stethoscope
Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends that all men consider routine scanning starting at age 50, but that African American men should start the process at age 40. Cancer surgeon Dr. Carol Brown, who made an appearance on the TODAY show, says that black men are 50 percent more likely to get prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it than white men in America. Brown also goes on to say that screening saves lives, as there are no symptoms with early prostate cancer. Roker says, “The problem for African American men can be any number of reasons from genetics to access to healthcare, and so we want to make it available and let people know they need to get checked.” Roker has been passionate about this cause for a long time, dating back to 2013 when he got a prostate exam live on TODAY. With this news, he will continue to raise awareness about prostate health and how it can be prevented simply by doing routine check-ups.

Roker began working on the TODAY show in 1996 and has been an essential part of their family for a long time. When making his announcement, he was joined by co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly, who collectively offered him their best wishes and their constant support at all times. They each spoke very highly of Roker, insinuating that he has been one of the first to call each of them whenever they are going through something. Although he received such disheartening news, his spirits remain high. He hopes that he will be back about two weeks after his surgery, and everyone wishes him well. He went on to share his gratitude for the tremendous amount of support he received over the weekend.

If anything is indicative of his mindset it’s that Roker said, “I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al’, you know, because I’m going to be OK.”

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