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Matt Lauer and Al Roker got prostate exams live on NBC’s Today show, but unlike former host Katie Couric‘s famous on-screen colonoscopy, viewers didn’t see the actual exam.
Still, Lauer and Roker spent part of Thursday morning at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital where Lauer’s doctor, David Samadi, gave both co-anchors digital rectal exams. NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman was also on hand to provide background about the screenings and prostate health.
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Lauer explained that he’s been getting exams for a few years because he has a family history.
Both Lauer and Roker had already done the first part of the screening, a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures levels of PSA, a substance made by the prostate, in the blood.
Samadi told Lauer: “Your PSA has been quite steady, which I’m very happy about. Just for the numbers, it started around 0.7, and now it’s around 0.9, so it hasn’t moved, and that’s what we pay attention to, the velocity.”
Lauer then went behind a closed door for his digital rectal exam, with a clock on the screen showing how long the exam took — roughly 34 seconds.
“It doesn’t hurt at all. Is it the best 34 seconds of your life? Probably not,” Lauer said. “But if in 34 seconds a [doctor] can detect something that might save your life, what are we talking about?”
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Samadi told Lauer: “Your prostate is healthy. It’s the normal size. I didn’t feel any nodules, which is a big concern. So you are perfect. “
Roker later went in for his exam, which lasted the same amount of time, with Snyderman noting that African-American men are 60 percent more likely to get prostate cancer, and often the disease is more aggressive.
With respect to Roker’s prostate, Samadi said: “It’s a little enlarged, but it’s not terrible. I don’t feel any nodules or any abnormality, which is good,” said Dr. Samadi. “So I’m going to monitor him once every six months, every year to see exactly whether the size of the prostate is going to change or we’re going to find any kind of firmness in the future and look at the PSA.”
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Roker also noted that the exam while “not comfortable” is “certainly, obviously doable.”
“I think a lot of guys are also concerned about the embarrassment factor of it, so my advice would be find a doctor you’re very comfortable with. That embarrassment factor is not going to be an issue,” Lauer added.
The serious segment did have one off-color moment when Samadi joked of performing exams on Matt, “I had to lose five pounds to make my finger smaller,” at which point the camera cut to the Today studio, where Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales and Tamron Hall all looked horrified. Guthrie earlier described Lauer and Roker’s procedures as them going “under the glove.”
The event was part of Today‘s monthlong, “No-shave November” initiative to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
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