Al Roker has long advocated for men to be checked for prostate cancer. Now, he's thankful he followed his own advice. The Today co-host and meteorologist revealed Thursday that he's been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery to remove his prostate next week. "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," said the 66-year-old, adding that he hopes to be back on the air in two weeks. Just last year, Roker filmed a PSA urging men to have their prostates checked. In 2013, he received an on-air prostate exam. "It's a little enlarged, but it's not terrible," the doctor said, per the Hollywood Reporter. He recommended Roker be monitored every six months.
After a routine physical, Roker learned that his prostate-specific antigen levels were elevated—a potential sign of prostate cancer—and the diagnosis was confirmed on Sept. 29. He said he wanted to share his story in the hope of inspiring other at-risk men to seek the proper tests. "If you detect it early, this is a really treatable disease," he said, per USA Today. Roker noted that 1 in 9 men, and 1 in 7 African-American men, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. African-American men are 50% more likely to get prostate cancer and twice as likely to die as a result compared to white men in the US, cancer surgeon Dr. Carol Brown told Today. She added that "there are no symptoms with early prostate cancer." The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends African-American men talk to their doctor about a screening starting at age 40. (Read more Al Roker stories.)