Al Roker informed TODAY that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would have surgery to remove the prostate gland.
The co-host of TODAY, 66, explained that he wanted to publicize his diagnosis to highlight the fact that 1 in 7 African-American men, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in life.
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“It’s some kind of good news – some bad news,” Al said. “The good news is we caught it early. Not the good news is it̵7;s a bit aggressive, so I’ll take a moment to sort this out.”
Al will have surgery next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where Dr. Vincent Laudone will perform the procedure.
“We’ll just wait and see and hopefully in about two weeks I’ll be back (TODAY),” said Al.
“Fortunately, his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate gland, but since it is more aggressive, we want to treat it and after discussing all other options. each other – surgery, radiation therapy, focus therapy – we decided to remove the prostate “. Laudone said into TODAY.
Al is sharing her journey to urge people at risk, especially black men, to make sure they see their doctor for proper medical check-ups to prevent disease. Cancer is most likely to be treated if found early.
“The problem for African American men is anything from genetics to access to health care, so we want to give this information and let people know,” Al said. must go check.
It’s an issue Al has long championed, whether it’s teaming up with TODAY’s Craig Melvin and the New Jersey Devil for a 2019 public service announcement about prostate health, or prostate exams. Directly entered TODAY in 2013.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends that African-American men talk to their doctors about prostate cancer screening at age 40. The American Cancer Society recommends discussing screening in age 45 for African Americans and for men whose father or brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all men 55-69 years talk to their doctor about being screened.
Dr. Carol Brown, a cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, said TODAY that African-American men are more than 50% more likely to have prostate cancer and are at risk of dying from prostate cancer. This disease is twice as high as white men in the United States.
“Another important message to know is that there are no early-stage prostate cancer symptoms,” says Brown. “So screening will save lives, and African-American men need to be seen and should usually start at age 40.”
Al’s detection of prostate cancer started with a regular health check when a doctor discovered he had an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. That led to him having to have an MRI scan, then a biopsy, to confirm his diagnosis.
Al shares the moment on September 29 when his doctor informed him that he had prostate cancer.
“When he started, he shut the door and said,“ I’ve always wanted face-to-face discussions, ”said Al. “And I said, ‘Uh-oh. Well, that doesn’t sound right.’
“You hear the word ‘cancer’ and your mind is spinning, it’s the next level, you know?”
The father of the three children was alone when he received a diagnosis instead of giving his wife, ABC News reporter Deborah Roberts.
“I feel bad, because I didn’t ask Deborah to come with me,” he said. “In hindsight, boy, I wish I had told her to come.”
“She was very sad. And once she got through it, the reporter on her team took in. And then she did everything ever since!”
He went to work TODAY the day after making his diagnosis.
“This feeling is just a strange feeling that on the surface no one can see anything different about me,” he said. “I look in the mirror, there is no difference on the surface. But I know there is something intrinsically different, inherently different.”
Laudone believes Al can return to the way it once was after surgery.
“The goal is to get him back to normal function,” he said. “And the fact that he walks a lot now, he keeps himself in good shape, he eats well, all of which is really a plus when it comes to how he will dress. after surgery. “
Al has endured surgery in his right shoulder, left hip, and right knee for the past four years and has emerged better than ever. Now he’s eager to get his surgery done next week.
“I don’t want people to think,” Oh, poor Al, “you know, because I’ll be fine,” said Al.
“You know? If that’s what’s needed to get 2020, let’s get it out. Boom! Let’s end it. I’m ready. What about you?”