Inside Al Roker's Cancer Diagnosis

Al Roker, beloved weatherman on NBC's The Today Show, shared some heavy news with viewers on the air on Friday morning. After a routine medical checkup in September, Roker learned that he has prostate cancer. "It's a good news-bad news kind of thing," he said (via CNN). "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." He stated that he wanted to go public with his diagnosis to help spread awareness, as one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes, "but for African American men, that number's one in seven and is more deadly," Roker noted.

Roker went on to explain to viewers that "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." Roker's surgeon, Dr. Vincent Laudone, said the cancer "appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate" but because it appears to be aggressive, he and Roker decided to remove the prostate. Roker's surgery is scheduled for next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Al Roker advocates for prostate cancer screenings and awareness

Today discusses Roker's longtime dedication to spreading awareness about this particular disease, stating: "It's an issue Al has long championed, whether it was combining with TODAY's Craig Melvin and the New Jersey Devils for a 2019 public service announcement about prostate health, or getting a prostate exam live on TODAY in 2013."

In honor of Roker's commitment to battling his own illness and to helping other men get screened and treated, Today goes on to inform tht the Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends African American men discuss prostate cancer screening at age 40, and the American Cancer Society, similarly, recommends screenings at age 45 for African Americans and men of all ethnicities who have had a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65.

"Another important message to know is that there are no symptoms with early prostate cancer," Carol Brown, a cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, said. "So screening saves lives, and  African American men need to get screened and should get screened usually starting at age 40."