Al Roker Reveals Prostate Cancer Diagnosis in Plea to Black Men

by Gina Williams

November 6, 2020

Morning show co-host Al Roker announced that he is battling prostate cancer Friday on NBC’s Today

“It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” Roker said on the show. “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’s doctor revealed the unfortunate diagnosis on September 29. His wife, TV journalist Deborah Roberts was initially upset about not being there when he received the news but vowed to be part of the process moving forward.

“When [the doctor] stated, he closed his door and said, ‘I always like to have these discussions face-to-face.’ And I was like, ‘Uh-oh. Well, that doesn’t sound good,'” Roker said.

Photo: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

However, one day after Roker received the news, he went back to work. 

“This one was kind of just a weird feeling that nobody can outwardly see anything different about me,” he said. “I looked in the mirror; there was nothing outwardly different.”

Roker, 66, continued, “I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ you know because I’m gonna be okay.” 

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images (L-R: Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly)

Roker’s wife, Roberts, tweeted about the news saying, “As many of you know my hubby is battling prostate cancer. We are prayerful and hopeful he will be fine. Thanks for all the kind words, prayers and positivity.”

The NBC meteorologist plans to undergo surgery at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York as early as next week to remove his prostate. 

Roker decided to go public to spread awareness of the disease in American men, particularly African-American men.

“The problem for African-Americans is that any number of reasons from genetics to access to health care, and so we want to make it available and let people know they got to get checked,” he said.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer of American men. And, it is more likely to develop in older men and African-American men. About one man in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. 

Roker thanked everyone for the outpouring of support he received since making the announcement.

Roker seemed optimistic about the upcoming surgery and return to the show.

“If that’s what it takes to get 2020 out, then let’s just get it outta the way,” the morning show host said. “Boo! Let’s just finish it off. I’m ready. How about you?”

He continued, “We’ll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I’ll be back [on] Today.

We’re keeping Al Roker in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

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