- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
In Nov. 2020, Today host Al Roker revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The TV icon went into surgery shortly thereafter, and took a brief leave of absence from the show to recover. Recently, Roker got candid on Today about the simple action he took that may have helped save his life. He is now urging people to take this cautionary step to be proactive about their health. Read on to find out what helped Roker catch his cancer in time.
Al Roker is warning people not to skip their annual health checkups.
On May 18, months after his surgery, Roker spoke about how he had almost skipped the yearly checkup where his cancer was ultimately detected. "Listen, I was going to put off my annual checkup, decided back in September, let me just get this done," he recalled on Today. "And if I hadn't, [they] would not have detected the prostate cancer, which was very aggressive."
Now, Roker is emphasizing the important of regular health screenings and checkups—especially since many people may have lapsed in their appointments during the pandemic. "My outlook and outcome might have been completely different, so I cannot stress enough to people, go out there and get your checkup, make sure you get checked," he said. Today's Craig Melvin reiterated that Roker is a "cautionary tale" and a reminder to schedule your checkups right now.
Roker shared his diagnosis to help educate others.
Part of why Roker decided to make his diagnosis public was to educate others on prostate cancer. "I wanted to take you along on my journey so we can all learn together how to educate and protect the men in our lives," he said in Nov. 2020 when he made his announcement.
The host said that routine checks are important for all men, but especially important for African American men. Roker noted that one in nine men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, but one in seven African American men will get the diagnosis.
The host revealed he got a clean bill of health at his six-month checkup.
When Roker first announced his diagnosis, he said it was "a good news-bad news kind of thing. Good news is we caught it early. Not great news is that it's a little aggressive." In November, he underwent surgery that successfully removed the cancer. On May 18, Roker said he recently went to his six-month checkup and learned that nothing was detected in his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level—meaning he has a clean bill of health.
Be on the lookout for the symptoms of prostate cancer.
While early prostate cancer often doesn't manifest in any noticeable symptoms, later stages do. According to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms in more advanced cases include trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in urine or semen, bone pain, weight loss, and erectile dysfunction. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.