Al Roker has opened up his prostate cancer battle, happily sharing that he appears to be cancer-free after a successful surgery to remove his prostate as well as surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.
The Today weather anchor underwent the five-hour surgery performed by Dr. Vincent Laudone at New York City‘s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on November 9, three days after he publicly announced his prostate cancer diagnosis.
‘Walking around, the number of people who have just given me a thumbs up and said, “Way to go, hope you’re doing well,” has meant all the world to me,’ Roker, 66, told his co-stars Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday morning’s show.
Great news: Al Roker, 66, opened up about his prostate cancer battle on the Today show on Tuesday, happily reporting that he appears to be cancer free
Cautious: Roker told his co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, center, and Hoda Kotb, right, the news is a ‘great relief,’ but he noted he’s ‘not out of the woods’
The host received a pathology report on Monday that found there is no evidence of cancer in his body outside of his prostate, which he had surgically removed.
Roker was with his wife Deborah Roberts, 60, and son Nick, 18, when he heard the good news, though he noted he’s ‘not out of the woods.’
‘It was this great relief,’ he said. ‘For a first start, this is terrific news. I’m going to be up for — and a lot of people who live with cancer — up for lifelong testing to make sure this doesn’t come back.’
Not only was the surgery a success, but he also recovered quickly. The weather forecaster was up and doing laps around the hospital hallways just hours after the procedure, according to Today.
Three days later, he was back to enjoying his five-mile walks through Central Park — not matter what the weather. He took to Instagram over the weekend to share a video of himself walking in the rain while urging his followers to get tested.
Better: Roker underwent a five-hour surgery to remove his prostate as well as the surrounding lymph nodes on November 9. He’s pictured with his wife Deborah Roberts after the procedure
Happy: Roker, pictured with his son Nick, received a pathology report on Monday that found there is no evidence of cancer in his body outside of his prostate, which was removed
Recovery: The weather forecaster, pictured when he had his shoulder replaced in August, said he feels ‘much better’ after the surgery than he did with his joint replacements
‘I feel good,’ Roker said. ‘The technology has gotten so good — they did it with a robot — that I felt much better after the surgery than I did with any of my joint replacements.
‘I didn’t feel like I had major surgery, but I’ve got this swelling around my stomach, so clothes don’t fit quite right right now. I’m very vain, so right now I feel like the Michelin Man.’
Roker was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine physical revealed he had elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a screening tool for early detection.
A biopsy confirmed he had a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, but, fortunately, it was caught early enough to be removed during surgery.
‘The prognosis at this point in time based on how the surgery went and based on his pathology report, everything looks very favorable,’ Dr. Laudone said on the show. ‘We would say that Al has no evidence of any cancer, but we’ll continue to monitor him for several years.’
Feeling better: Three days after surgery, he was back to enjoying his five-mile walks through Central Park — even in the rain
Getting out there: Roker was photographed walking through Central Park on Sunday. He is expected to return to the Today show next Monday
Candid: Roker announced on the show on November 6 that he had prostate cancer. He was diagnosed after a routine physical revealed he had elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
Roker will have to have another blood test in January to check his PSA level. Even if everything checks out, he will continue to undergo testing every six months for the next five years.
He explained on the show that he went public with his prostate cancer battle to raise awareness for the disease, which one in nine men will be diagnosed with.
The odds are even higher for African American men, who are 50 per cent more likely to develop the disease in their lifetime and twice as likely to die from it.
Roker stressed that men over 40 — especially African American men — should get tested regularly.
The Today star has received an outpouring of love from his colleagues, friends, and fans since his diagnosis, which he said he is incredibly grateful for.
‘Al, did you realize how many people loved you, man?’ Kotb asked.
Monitoring: While Roker appears to be cancer-free, he will continue to undergo testing every six months for the next five years
Expert opinion: Dr. Vincent Laudone, who performed Roker’s surgery, said ‘everything looks very favorable’ for the weather anchor
Support: Carson Daly, bottom right, praised Roker for going public with his cancer journey, saying he has saved millions of lives
‘I truly didn’t. You don’t hear about this until you’re dead,’ Roker joked.
Carson Daly also praised Roker for going public with his cancer journey when he joined the conversation on Tuesday’s show.
‘You’re terrific, Al, because you were brave to do this on the air. It’s a personal choice. Think of the millions of people that you’re helping,’ he said. ‘You’ve literally saved millions of lives and are a superhero.’
Roker shared that he plans to be back on air next Monday. He will also be one of the hosts of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — and it seems like he is looking to reignite last year’s ‘feud’ with a man in butter suit.
‘That’s what everyone’s been asking, is there going to be a Thanksgiving Day parade? We’re telling them yes, but it will be different,’ he said. ‘But it’s happening. My only question is, will I find butter?’