Al Roker revealed on Friday that he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had to have surgery to have his prostate removed.
The “Today” weather forecaster, 66, explained on Friday’s show that he wanted to share his story to raise awareness of the disease. He was diagnosed on Sept. 29.
Roker highlighted the fact that one in seven African-American men, one in nine men overall, would be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” Roker told viewers. “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.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 6, 2020
Roker said he’d be undergoing surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, performed by Dr. Vincent Laudone.
“We’ll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I’ll be back (on ‘Today’),” Roker shared.
Six days later, on Thursday Roker shared an update on Twitter to reveal that his “surgery is done” and he’s “back home.”
He also sent a “big shoutout” to the staff at the centre and shared his appreciation for “all the thoughts and wishes from our viewers and the wonderful care packages from my co-workers. See you all soon.”
Relieved to let you all know that my #prostatecancer surgery is done and back home. IA big shoutout to everyone at the #josierobertsonsurgerycenter and appreciate all the thoughts and wishes from our viewers and the wonderful care packages from my co-workers. See you all soon. pic.twitter.com/PoZZWpDcFE
— Al Roker (@alroker) November 12, 2020
Roker said of the moment his doctor told him the news, “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.’
“You hear the word ‘cancer’ and your mind goes. It’s the next level, you know?”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 6, 2020
Roker was by himself when he received the diagnosis as he hadn’t told his wife, ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts.
“I feel badly because I didn’t tell Deborah to come with me,” he 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!”
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For more than 25 years, this loving, generous and spirited man has been my rock and my respite. His gentle touch, quick wit and strong will…cherished by his family. He has taken on fierce storms, teen drama, and a NYC marathon. All with an unbreakable sense of humor and joy. Now he is taking on prostate cancer. I am prayerful and confident that Al will soon be back at it…embracing all that life offers for years to come. Thanks so much to all who’ve humbled us with your prayers, loving messages and calls. @alroker and I continue to count our blessings. #grateful
“Fortunately his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate,” Laudone said on “Today”, “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.”
Roker added of how important it was to tell his story, “The problem for African-Americans 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.”
“Today” anchor Hoda Kotb was among those sending Roker well-wishes online. See more comments below.
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) November 6, 2020
Love you @alroker you got this my friend. ❤️
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) November 6, 2020
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) November 6, 2020
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) November 6, 2020
Sending healing & loving thoughts to my friend @alroker !I know he’s going to be able to beat this prostate cancer!Al is one of the strongest, most positive people I know and nothing can stop him! ❤️ My love to the entire Roker family @debrobertsabc @LeilaRoker Courtney & Nick pic.twitter.com/hz9dFQQUaa
— Stephanie Abrams (@StephanieAbrams) November 6, 2020