The Today show anchor says the cancer is "a little aggressive," but he caught it early.

By Nick Romano
November 06, 2020 at 09:29 AM EST

The Today show's longtime weather anchor Al Roker went public on the morning show Friday with his prostate cancer diagnosis and announced that he will be taking time off to undergo surgery to remove his prostate.

"After a routine checkup in September, it turns out I have prostate cancer," Roker said. "And it's a good news-bad news kind of thing: good news that I 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... It's a little more common than people, I think, realize. So, I just decided that I wanted to go public because 1 in 9 men are going to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but for African-American men that number is 1 in 7 and is more deadly."

According to Today, the TV personality will have his surgery next week out of New York City's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Roker said, "We'll just wait and see," but he hopes he'll be back on the air "in about two weeks."

Roker further sat down for a video interview for Today to share his experience thus far, something he hopes to continue to do on the show in order to help educate the public about prostate cancer and its impact on Black men. "You hear the word 'cancer' and your mind goes, it's the next level," Roker remarked when he first heard the news.

In a statement to Today, Roker's doctor said, "Fortunately his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate, but because it's more aggressive, we wanted to treat it, and after discussion regarding all of the different options — surgery, radiation, focal therapy — we settled on removing the prostate."

"I hadn't gotten a check-up in about a year and a half, what with COVID and all, and I just thought, 'Let's do this,'" Roker recalled. "And [the doctor] said, 'Look, your levels are high.' Did it again, still high. Said, 'Let's do an MRI.' MRI didn't show anything, and then he said, 'let's do it again,' and did the biopsy."

"I think most guys are familiar with the digital prostate exam," he added, in reference to the prostate exam scene from 1985's Fletch where Chevy Chase's character sings "Moon River." "But, other than that, nobody pays attention."

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