Al Roker, the weather anchor on NBC’s Today show, announced that he has prostate cancer and will undergo surgery next week.
The 66-year-old TODAY weatherman and co-host told viewers live on air: “It’s kind of a good news-bad news thing. The good news is that we caught it early. Not the good news is that it’s a little aggressive, so I’m going to take some time off to deal with it.
Next week, Roker will have surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Roker’s physician, Dr. Vincent Laudone, told the Today Show: “Fortunately, his cancer seems to be somewhat localized or limited to the prostate, but because it’s more aggressive, we wanted to treat it, and after discussing all the different options – surgery, radiation, focal therapy – we agreed to remove the prostate.
Our friend and colleague @AlRoker reveals that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. pic.twitter.com/hnAUX4xfX3
– TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 6, 2020
Talking to the TODAY show in a previously recorded video, Roker said he did not expect the diagnosis. The cancer was spotted during a routine checkup because the blood from the poker contained high levels of prostate-specific antigen, which can be a sign of prostate cancer. Roker then underwent an MRI and biopsy to confirm his diagnosis.
Roker discussed his initial reaction to the announcement of his diagnosis and said: “You hear the word cancer and your mind goes… It is the next stage.”
The weatherman said he wanted to share his diagnosis with the public to raise awareness of prostate cancer, which affects one in seven African-American men and one in nine men in total. He wants to urge others to see their doctors and get tested because prostate cancer is very treatable if detected early.
In retrospect, Roker said he wished he had asked his wife, ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts, to accompany him to the diagnosis.
On Twitter early Friday, Roberts said in a tweet: “As many of you now know, my husband is fighting prostate cancer. We pray and hope that he will be well. Thank you very much for all the kind words, prayers and positive attitude”.
As many of you now know, my husband is fighting against prostate cancer. We pray and hope that he will be well. Thank you for all the kind words, prayers and positive attitude. pic.twitter.com/jHIMnKYynB
– Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) November 6, 2020
His supporters turned to social media to send good wishes to Roker, including reporter Shelby Lofton, who said, “You’ve been on my TV since I was a kid, and you made our days sunny when they were gray to begin with. I pray for you, Mr. Roker.”
On Twitter, Roker thanked his supporters and said, “I want to thank everyone who sent us all the good thoughts, wishes and prayers. I look forward to seeing you all again in a few weeks”.