Hosts of the Today Show, Al Roker and Matt Lauer, will be promoting men’s health awareness throughout the month of November. It is understood that men are typically less likely to seek medical attention, as compared to women. (I think instead of “No Shave November” they should dub it “No Shame November” to send the message that it’s a necessary and positive thing to be aware of one’s health.)
In order to promote this issue, Roker and Lauer agreed to undergo prostate exams on air, according to a NY Daily News article. It is one of the most common types of cancer, and also one of the most preventable, which is why the exam is so important. Many men do not have the exam due to the discomfort.
I think this is an excellent idea which has absolutely no downfalls. While Roker was quoted in a Daily Beast article saying this wasn’t for the ratings, even if their ratings didn’t go up, two men were screened for cancer. And, I would be shocked if more people didn’t tune in to watch. While they were out of camera range, both received the exam on set and their results were revealed afterwards.
Even if people didn’t tune in, just by hearing about it, I believe many men will go out and get screened. Not only do people trust these hosts because they provide them their news, but many idolize Roker and Lauer. Avid viewers see them as celebrities, and if our favorite celebrities are doing something, we want to do it too. It normalizes the exam and makes it not so weird and scary.
In 2001, Katie Couric had an on-air colonoscopy on the show and as a result, the number of people getting the exam increased dramatically. People of authority in our society, particularly in the news industry, have a powerful effect over the general public. It’s great to see that they are using their influence for good, and I hope this has the same effect as it did in 2001.