SUNY Oswego alumnus Al Roker has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, he announced on the “Today” show Friday morning.
The 66-year-old TV weatherman said he’ll be undergoing surgery next week to remove his prostate at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
“It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” Roker said. “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.”
He added that he wanted to make his diagnosis public to encourage others at risk to get regular checkups with their doctor. Prostate cancer affects 1 in 9 men and 1 in 7 Black men, but can be treatable if detected early.
“I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ you know, because I’m gonna be OK,” Roker said.
Roker, who co-hosts the NBC morning show’s “3rd Hour Today,” previously took time off for total shoulder replacement surgery in August for arthritis in his right shoulder. He also had a total hip replacement done on his left hip in 2019.
Roker started his TV career in Syracuse at WHEN-TV, now known as CNY Central’s WTVH-5, in 1974 while still a student at Oswego State. He’s has been at the “Today” show for nearly 25 years as a weatherman and co-host of the NBC morning show’s “3rd Hour Today,” on top of hosting shows on the Food Network and the Weather Channel, plus acteing in movies and TV shows like “Sharknado 5,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
While promoting his new book, “You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success,” Roker said he never imagined being a television star.
“I had no plans of being on television,” he told TV Insider in July. “I didn’t consider it, didn’t think about it. When I looked in the mirror in college, I was already losing my hair, I was chunky, I had glasses, and I was black. In 1974, that was not a recipe for, ‘Hey, you want to be on TV?’ But I wanted to be in television. I wanted to work in TV, not on TV. But when my department chairman wanted me to audition for it, I said, ‘Yes, why not? What’s the worst that would happen, I didn’t get the job? Oh, well.’”
According to NBC, the Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends Black men talk to their doctor about being screened for prostate cancer at age 40. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends all men ages 55-69 talk to their doctors about being screened.
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