Charlie Wilson, the famed R&B artist widely known as the lead vocalist for the GAP Band in the 1980s and his gold-certified album, Charlie Last Name Wilson, announced that he is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. He also announced that he is teaming with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to raise awareness and research funds for prostate cancer. His second solo album on Jive Records, Uncle Charlie, featuring the top-ten single There Goes My Baby, is scheduled for release on February 17.
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September, I thought to myself ‘I’m too young… this isn’t a cancer I should be getting,’” says Wilson. “While I was surprised to discover that this disease strikes one out of every six American men, I was astounded to learn that African American men are 1.6 times more likely than others to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. My wife, Mahin, and I are very fortunate. I was lucky to be diagnosed and begin treatment early. My prognosis is excellent.”
Wilson is buoyed by the fact that his cancer was detected early. Following his diagnosis in September, he consulted with his doctor to select a treatment option that was right for him. He started on a course of therapy on November 21.
Scientists do not yet understand why prostate cancer odds—both incidence and death rates—are higher among African American men. Genetic differences, lifestyle and nutrition habits, and access to healthcare may all play a role in the statistics.
In dealing with his situation, Wilson understood two things: he had to decide on a treatment that was right for him and he had to do something about getting the word out about prostate cancer to African American and all men. “For years I’ve spent my life performing,” explains Wilson. “Now I need to spend time informing.”
“Although men are 35 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than women are to be diagnosed with breast cancer, no one seems to talk about the disease,” says Wilson. “We men don’t want to consider or vocalize our vulnerabilities. It was my wife who kept after me to see my doctor for a screening. I thank God she did. Now I feel compelled to spread the word about prostate cancer.”
Wilson will be taking the message of early detection and treatment on the road with him as he starts his media and concert tours for his new album this spring. He plans to deliver his message overseas to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Kuwait when he performs for them in late February.
Wilson will also be helping the Prostate Cancer Foundation raise funds to support prostate cancer research, specifically by supporting a PCF Creativity Research Grant. These research grants support creative research ideas with high potential and no current funding. They encourage the development of high-risk/high-reward concepts that, if successful, could provide the basis for dramatically reducing death and suffering from prostate cancer. They are intended to bridge the gap between an idea and the results necessary to justify increased funding. Those wanting to make a donation in Wilson’s name can go to www.charliewilsonmusic.com/donate where they will find more information on Wilson’s support of a PCF Creativity Research Award and a direct link for making donations online.
“I am excited to be working with the PCF. They are the driving force behind
many of the advances that have been made in prostate cancer treatment to date,” says Wilson. “Their work has helped reduce the death rate by nearly 40 percent in the past few years. Together, I believe we can make an important impact.”
About the Prostate Cancer Foundation
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research focused on discovering better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer. Founded in 1993, the PCF has raised more than $370 million and provided funding to more than 1,500 research projects nearly 200 institutions worldwide. The PCF also advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more governmental research funds. PCF advocacy has helped produce a 20-fold increase in government funding for prostate cancer since 1994. More information about prostate cancer and the PCF can be found at www.pcf.org.