Roker, 66, decided to go public with his diagnosis because of how common it is, he said, noting that 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. He noted that the odds are greater for African American men, for whom “that number is 1 in 7 and is more deadly.”
The television personality learned of his diagnosis after bloodwork from a routine checkup in September returned with elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (a.k.a. PSA), a sign he referred to as “the first line of defense when detecting possible prostate cancer.” He then underwent an MRI, followed by a biopsy that confirmed his diagnosis. His surgeon, Vincent Laudone of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, appeared on “Today” and said Roker’s prostate would be removed because of the cancer’s aggressive nature.
The “Today” show has aired segments on prostate health before — in 2013, Roker underwent a prostate exam on air. Four years later, he and his male co-hosts filmed a public service announcement urging viewers to get screened. On Friday, Roker thanked his colleagues and wife, Deborah Roberts, for their support.
“I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ you know? Because I’m going to be okay,” he said, adding: “If that’s what it takes to get 2020 out, then let’s just get it out of the way. Boom! Let’s just finish it off.”