Al Roker plans to be back on the TODAY show next Monday, he announced during a call into the NBC morning show Tuesday, revealing his prognosis after undergoing prostate surgery last week was "excellent." After announcing earlier this month that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the 66-year-old weatherman underwent a five-hour surgery on Nov. 9 to remove his prostate, as well as the surrounding lymph nodes and tissue, at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
"It was this great relief. 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," Roker said of his mindset after surgery. Roker plans to be back on TODAY at the start of next week in order to cover the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, a crowd-free event amid the coronavirus pandemic.
.@AlRoker joins us for the first time since his prostate cancer surgery to share an update on his recovery. Dr. Vincent Laudone of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says Al has “an excellent prognosis.” pic.twitter.com/2njMBP7Tpn— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 17, 2020
Roker's surgeon, Dr. Vincent Laudone, also appeared on Tuesday's show, giving his view of Roker's health after the procedure. "The prognosis at this point in time based on how the surgery went and based on his pathology report, everything looks very favorable," he said. "We would say that Al has no evidence of any cancer, but we’ll continue to monitor him for several years."
The morning show anchor recalled coming home from the hospital just a day after surgery, going for a walk just a day after that. "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."
Roker first announced his cancer diagnosis on Nov. 6, telling his TODAY co-stars, "I don't want people thinking, 'Oh, poor Al,' you know, because I'm gonna be OK." He first was diagnosed after doctors determined an elevated prostate-specific antigen in his bloodwork during a routine physical, which led to an MRI and biopsy. "When [the doctor] started, he closed his door and said, 'I always like to have these discussions face to face,'" he recalled of learning he had cancer. "And I was like, 'Uh-oh. Well, that doesn't sound good.' ...You hear the word 'cancer' and your mind goes, it's the next level, you know?"
The day after being diagnosed, Roker went to work, but recalled "a weird feeling," as no one could tell he was physically ill from the outside. "I looked in the mirror, there was nothing outwardly different," he said. "But I knew there was something intrinsically, inherently, internally different."