Along with his long-tenured work as a journalist and television personality, Al Roker is mostly known for his exuberant energy.
The 66-year-old Today news anchor still managed to keep that patented smile and hopeful energy as he revealed that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this,” Roker said in a Today show segment on Friday. Describing it as a “good news-bad news” situation since it was detected early yet is nevertheless a “little aggressive,” Roker, who also revealed that he found out about his diagnosis on Sept. 29 during a routine physical, will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed.
“It’s a little more common than people I think realize, and so 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,” Roker added. “But for African-American men, that number is 1 in 7 and is more deadly.”
The National Cancer Institute reported in 2019 that Black men were more likely to die from low-grade prostate cancer than other races, however, it maintains that the risk is small. In 2018, a study led by Duke University’s Susan Halabi concluded that Black men with advanced prostate cancer may fare better with the disease than their white male counterparts if they are provided with the same level of access to care.
“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,” he continued.
Roker’s doctors also appeared in a segment on Today to discuss his treatment and what led to their decision to treat the news anchor with surgery.
Roker praised his wife, ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts, who he says is his “fiercest advocate.”
Overall, Roker appears to be in optimistic spirits. “I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ because I’m going to be OK,” he concluded, later taking to Twitter to thank everyone for their support.
We’ll keep Roker in our prayers and wish for his healing.