Health Equity and Cancer — A Conversation with Al Roker and Dr. Carol Brown

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Al Roker

When beloved TV anchor Al Roker of NBC News’ TODAY publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it didn’t just raise awareness of the disease—it also cast a spotlight on the harsh disparities in care and outcomes that many people of color suffer with cancer.

Making health care more accessible for Black people and others who suffer from disparities has been the life’s work of Dr. Carol Brown, a gynecological cancer surgeon and Chief Health Equity Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering where she holds the Nicholls-Biondi Chair for Health Equity. Dr. Brown and Mr. Roker met on video to discuss health care disparities, the higher risk that Black people face for some cancers, the importance of men—especially Black men—getting cancer screenings, and much more.

The Reality of Cancer Disparities

Al Roker’s Message to Black Men About Their Health

VIDEO | 01:35

Al Roker’s Message to Black Men About Their Health

Al Roker urges Black men to take charge of their health, including prostate health, since they are 50% more likely to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it.
Al Roker on mistrust of the health care system

VIDEO | 00:57

Al Roker on mistrust of the health care system

Al Roker reflects on his own experience with doctors, and discusses the mistrust that some people feel towards the health care system.
Al Roker urges men—especially Black men--to get screened for prostate cancer

VIDEO | 00:57

Al Roker urges men—especially Black men—to get screened for prostate cancer

Al Roker and Carol Brown discuss the importance of the PSA test (Prostate Specific Antigen) and other methods to screen for prostate cancer.
Al Roker reflects on learning he has cancer, and the importance of an advocate

VIDEO | 01:19

Al Roker reflects on learning he has cancer, and the importance of an advocate

Al Roker describes his reaction when his doctor told him he had prostate cancer, and the importance of having an advocate, if possible.
Al Roker’s recovery from prostate surgery

VIDEO | 01:06

Al Roker’s recovery from prostate surgery

Al Roker updates everyone on his recovery after prostate cancer surgery, performed by Vincent Laudone, the Chief of Surgery at MSK’s Josie Robertson Surgery Center.