“It’s 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, so I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this,” Roker said.
According to TODAY, Roker is scheduled to undergo surgery next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; Dr. Vincent Laudone, a urology specialist, is scheduled to perform the procedure. Roker reportedly announced his diagnosis publicly to highlight the health statistics facing African-American men, which say that one in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes; statistically, one in nine men overall will face the same diagnosis.
Laudone also appeared on the show to discuss Roker’s diagnosis.
“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,” Laudone said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States and one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races. The CDC further stated that African-American men are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than other men and “get prostate cancer at a younger age, tend to have more advanced disease when it is found, and tend to have a more severe type of prostate cancer than other men.”
“The problem for African Americans 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,” Roker said.
Prostate cancer awareness is a cause for which Roker is a well-known advocate. He and fellow TODAY broadcaster Craig Melvin appeared in a 2019 public service announcement partnering with the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils franchise. In the video, which can be seen below, Melvin and Roker get a run-down on the various types of hockey hits, or checks, from then-Devils player Brian Boyle. After Melvin demonstrated his apparent aptitude on the ice and seemingly wore out the Devils roster, he declared that there’s still “one more check every man needs.” The PSA then cut to Melvin and Roker in a doctor’s waiting room, clad in hospital gowns, where Roker revealed the answer: “your prostate check.”