The Today show cameras followed Matt Lauer and Al Roker in to Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC on Thursday, Nov. 7 for a special segment of raising awareness of men's health issues. The dynamic duo both underwent prostate exams -- on live television.
"This morning we take #noshavetoday up a notch," Lauer tweeted as a prelude to the medical procedure. "Al and I will have prostate screenings live on air. So important for men's health." The Today show touted the screening as part of its "No-Shave November" initiative, which looks to raise awareness for male health problems.
The two anchors met with Lauer's urologist of five years, Dr. David Samadi, for the procedure, which took approximately 35 seconds each and includes two tests: A digital rectal exam to determine if the prostate gland is normal in shape and size, and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) exam which can detect prostate cancer in its early stages. Samadi told Lauer that the morning show host's PSA levels have been "quite steady" which he was "very happy about." Roker's prostate, meanwhile, was "a little enlarged, but it's not terrible," the doctor disclosed.
On the actual procedure, Lauer shared, "It doesn't hurt at all. Is it the best 34 seconds of your life? Probably not." Roker, meanwhile, described the rectal exam as "not comfortable," although he added that it is "certainly, obviously do-able."
"I think a lot of guys are also concerned about the embarrassment factor of it, so my advice would be find a doctor you're very comfortable with," said Lauer. "That embarrassment factor is not going to be an issue."
Approximately 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. More than 28,000 die from the disease. Taking the more direct, hands-on approach, Lauer and Roker's live screening on Thursday harkened back to Katie Couric's live colonoscopy on the Today show in 2001. Couric underwent the procedure before 6.7 million viewers during the segment -- in an effort to raise awareness after her husband Jay Monahan had died in 1998 from colon cancer. She also underwent a mammogram on live TV in 2005.