Al Roker announced Friday morning that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The longtime Today cohost and meteorologist will take a break from the show to undergo surgery to remove his prostate.
"It's a good news-bad news kind of thing," he said on air. "The good news is, we caught it early. The not-great news is that it's a little aggressive. So I'm taking some time off to take care of this."
Roker, 66, decided to go public with his diagnosis because of how common it is, he said, noting that one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. He noted that the odds of developing it are greater for African American men, for whom “that number is one in seven and is more deadly.”
The television personality learned of his diagnosis after blood work 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 cohosts filmed a public service announcement urging viewers to get screened. On Friday, Roker thanked his colleagues and wife, Deborah Roberts, for their support.