Al Roker, the long-time co-anchor on the TODAY show and arguably one of America’s favorite weathermen, announced today that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed.
The 66-year-old explained he wanted to publicly reveal his diagnosis to shed light on this disease that has and still is disproportionally affect Black men.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that one in 7 African American men, 1 in 9 men overall, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“The problem for African American men 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,” Al said on TODAY.
The detection of Al’s prostate cancer began with a routine physical when his doctor discovered he had an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in his bloodwork. That led to him getting an MRI, followed by a biopsy, to confirm his diagnosis.
“When he started, he closed his door and said, ‘I always like to have these discussions face to face,'” Al said. “And I was like, ‘Uh-oh. Well, that doesn’t sound good.'”
The father of three confessed, “You hear the word ‘cancer’ and your mind goes, it’s the next level, you know?”
Detection is key for anyone who may be diagnosed with prostate cancer, especially Black men.
Knowing the symptoms is also key to even thinking that you should get checked in order for it to be detected.
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- A weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)
- Erectile and Ejaculatory Symptoms
- Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the semen
- Decreased volume of ejaculation (though hydration, diet and frequency of ejaculation are more likely than prostate cancer to impact the volume of fluid)
- Lower Extremity Symptoms
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
- Swelling in the lower extremities
If a patient experiences bone pain and swelling in the lower extremities—especially when accompanied by urinary, erectile or ejaculation dysfunction—these could be symptoms of advanced prostate cancer.
When to See a Doctor
While Roker didn’t feel any symptoms per se before going to get his annual physical, physicians recommend that you consult with your doctor if