Al Roker announces prostate cancer diagnosis found during a routine physical
The news of a prostate cancer diagnosis for beloved morning show host and meteorologist Al Roker “came as a shock” to him and his family, he shared recently. But he feels very lucky that the cancer was detected early through a routine physical and that it can be treated.
One in every 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer; however, the 66-year-old TV meteorologist falls into a category of higher risk.
“African American males are at a higher risk of being diagnosed, about 1 in every 7 men,” said Steven Patton, D.O., family medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Preston. “And because the cancer usually goes undetected, becoming more dangerous and deadly, African American men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer.”
But Dr. Patton is quick to point out that prostate cancer is the second most treatable cancer, and when it’s detected early, the outcomes can be positive for all men.
Screening for prostate cancer starts with a PSA or prostate-specific antigen blood test. This is a simple blood test that detects elevated levels of the prostate-specific antigen in your body. The second part is a digital rectal exam (DRE). The physical exam combined with the PSA blood test give the best results possible in detecting the cancer.
Norton Healthcare is offering community PSA screenings for men on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Norton Community Medical Associates – West Broadway, located at 1702 W. Broadway, Louisville. Participants also may receive a flu shot and a COVID-19 test during the event. There is no fee for the screening. The cost is being covered by a grant from the Norton Healthcare Foundation and does require an appointment.
“With prostate cancer there are usually no symptoms — that is why an annual screening starting at age 40 for men who have a sibling or parent who has been diagnosed and age 45 for African American men who have a family history is so important,” Dr. Patton said. “Regardless of race or family history, all men over the age of 50 should be screened annually.”
For Al Roker, his annual physical’s lab work detected an elevated PSA, and after consulting with his primary care provider and having a second elevated PSA blood test, he was referred to a specialist for a treatment plan. Surgery is planned, and then a further course of treatment will be determined, according to the story he shared on the “Today” show.