Al Roker Says He Announced His Prostate Cancer to Help Others

When Al Roker, the 66-year-old weatherman on the TODAY show, announced his prostate cancer diagnosis earlier this month, he did so expressly to highlight the fact that 1 in 7 African American men, and 1 in 9 men overall, will also be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Roker underwent successful surgery the week after his announcement at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer in New York City. Dr. Vincent Laudone performed the surgery to remove Roker’s prostate gland.

“The problem for African American men is that, for any number of reasons from genetics to access to health care,” Roker said, they are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. “We want to let people know they got to get checked,” Roker said.

While Roker elected to have his prostate removed, patients have other options for care. The three main options are active surveillance, surgery, and radiotherapy. Active surveillance means having the prostate checked every few months to make sure the cancer is not spreading. Surgery would take out the prostate, and radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells in the prostate.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) offers prostate cancer patients a free, downloadable report to help them decide which treatment best suits their lifestyle. The update explores the pros and cons of each treatment option in detail. The update also offers a list of questions to discuss with the doctor. For more information on the studies that informed the PCORI report, visit here and here.

Robin Mather

View posts by Robin Mather
Robin Mather is a third-generation journalist with more than 40 years' experience working at major daily newspapers and national magazines. A Michigan native, she now lives in Arizona

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