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What Al Roker’s diagnosis teaches us about risk factors for prostate cancer

When it comes to prostate cancer, about six cases in 10 are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older.

Friday morning, 66-year-old Al Roker announced he’s battling the disease.

He’s served the public for 42 years forecasting weather. A job that often gets a lot of criticism. Yet, there he was on your tv screen every morning, not gloating about everything he’s done right just giving us everything he could.

Three years ago this month, he even gave some of you what you needed to rebuild homes after we were devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

So, it was a little surprising this morning he didn’t give his normal, jolly forecast, but some personal news.

“Turns out, I have prostate cancer," Roker admitted.

He joins the one in nine men who will have it in their lifetime.

It’s even more likely for Al Roker to be diagnosed because he’s Black.

According to Dr. Justin Gregg with MD Anderson, Black men will be diagnosed and die at a higher rate than white patients.

“Many of our, our broad guidelines or advisory boards recommend at least starting (screening) at the age of 55, if you have a normal risk of prostate cancer,” Dr. Gregg said. “Then in groups that are at a higher risk of prostate cancer groups, like we mentioned African American men, for patients who have a family history of prostate cancer... screening even earlier. Screening involves mostly blood-based tests to look for prostate cancer.”

In recent years, there have been many options for men with prostate cancer.

Here’s what KPRC 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley chose during his battle with prostate cancer.

Patients can choose to simply monitor the disease, which means not receiving any treatment. Or they can try several alternatives before opting for surgery (since surgery comes with several life-altering side effects).

While we don’t know if Al’s cancer has spread, he does say it’s at the point he needs surgery.

“I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this," Roker said.