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Al Roker almost delayed his annual physical, which led to prostate cancer diagnosis

"My outlook and outcome might have been completely different," Al said.
/ Source: TODAY

Al Roker is living proof of the importance of not skipping annual health checkups with the doctor.

Al shared on the 3rd hour of TODAY Tuesday that he considered postponing a physical during the pandemic last year, and it turned out to be the one that led to his diagnosis of prostate cancer.

"Listen I was going to put off my annual checkup, decided back in September, let me just get this done," he said. "And if I hadn't, (it) would not have detected the prostate cancer, which was very aggressive."

The TODAY weatherman underwent successful surgery in November at New York City's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to remove his prostate and some surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.

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"My outlook and outcome might have been completely different, so I cannot stress enough to people, go out there and get your checkup, make sure you get checked," he said.

"There's a cautionary tale," TODAY's Craig Melvin said. "There's enough of a reason to do it right now."

A big reason Al, 66, shared his diagnosis publicly in the first place was to highlight that 1 in 7 African American men and 1 in 9 men overall will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and to urge men to get checked.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends African American men talk to their doctor about being screened for prostate cancer at age 40. The American Cancer Society recommends discussing screenings at age 45 for African Americans and men who have had a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer before 65. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends all men ages 55-69 talk to their doctors about being screened.

Al added on Tuesday that he just had his six-month checkup and there was nothing detectable in his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, so he has a clean bill of health.

"He'll live another 30 years," Craig said before turning to TODAY meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, who may follow in Al's footsteps when he retires. "Bad news for you."

"That joke never gets old," Al laughed. "It's the best."