“It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” the weather anchor, 66, told viewers on Friday, November 6. “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.”
Roker said that he will undergo surgery next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City to have his prostate removed.
“We’ll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I’ll be back [on Today],” he said, noting that he does not “want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al’ because I’m gonna be OK.”
The journalist said his wife, Deborah Roberts, “was upset” when he told her that he has cancer, but she has been his biggest supporter and joins him at all of his medical appointments.
“Once she got past that, the reporter in her kind of took over,” Roker said of the ABC News correspondent, 60. “She’s been at everything ever since.”
The You Look So Much Better in Person author — who underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and has also had operations on his back, knee, hip and shoulder — explained that he decided to go public with his diagnosis because one in seven Black men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“[I want to] let people know they got to get checked,” he said.
Dr. Vincent Laudone, who is set to perform Roker’s procedure, also appeared on Today to discuss his famous patient’s prognosis.
“Fortunately, his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate, but because it’s more aggressive, we wanted to treat it,” he said. “After [a] discussion regarding all of the different options — surgery, radiation, focal therapy — we settled on removing the prostate.”
Roker has long been a champion of prostate health, having undergone an exam live on the NBC morning show in 2013. He more recently teamed up with cohost Craig Melvin and the New Jersey Devils for a 2019 PSA about the issue.
The NBC News veteran has three children: Courtney, 33, Leila, 22, and Nicholas, 18.
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