'Today Show': Al Roker Describes the Moment His Doctor Revealed His Cancer Diagnosis
Al Roker of the Today Show often shares details of his personal life on the air. Revealing a new health issue in his life, Roker just informed viewers he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be taking some time off.
Al Roker shares significant health news
On Nov. 6, Roker announced his diagnosis on camera. Staying true to his optimistic nature, the lovable weatherman included a positive aspect to the negative news.
“After a routine checkup in September, turns out I have prostate cancer,” Roker said on Today. “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 off to take care of this.”
Roker will undergo surgery next week headed by Dr. Vincent Laudone at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The physician wanted to be proactive on the Today Show star’s case.
“Fortunately his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate,” Laudone commented. “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.”
‘Today Show’ star has a closed-door talk with his doctor
When Roker discovered on Sept. 29 that he had prostate cancer, he went about his day and showed up for work the following morning as always. Though no one at the Today Show could see any outward difference in Roker, he pondered the impact of the diagnosis.
“It was a Tuesday, and it was weird because I didn’t physically feel any different,” he noted. “But I was different because I knew that I had cancer. … It was a diagnosis I was not expecting.”
The NBC anchor described the moment his doctor came into his office to break the news.
“When he started, he closed his door and said, ‘I always like to have these discussions face to face,’” Roker explained. “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?”
Al Roker hopes to help others through his story
Married to fellow reporter Deborah Roberts since 1995, Roker revealed he hadn’t asked his wife to attend the meeting with the doctor. Since his diagnosis, Roberts has been his top health advocate.
“I feel badly, because I didn’t tell Deborah to come with me,” Roker said. “And she was so upset with me that she wasn’t there. 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!”
The Today co-host is sharing his story to spread awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to take preventative measures.
“It’s a little more common than people, I think, realize,” Roker explained. “I just decided that I wanted to go public with this, because 1 in 9 men are going to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. But for African American men, that number is 1 in 7, and is more deadly. So, if you detect it early, this is a really treatable disease. And it’s why I wanted to take you along my journey, so we can all learn together how to educate and protect the men in our lives.”
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