R&B Artist Charlie Wilson Teams Up with Prostate Cancer Foundation
Famed R&B artist Charlie Wilson has announced he is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. He was diagnosed in September 2008.
As with many men, it was at his wife Mahin's urging that he have an annual check-up. It was that screening PSA and physical exam that caught his prostate cancer early.
He chose to have brachytherapy after discussing his treatment alternatives with his wife and physician. This involved having tiny metal pellets containing radioactive iodine inserted into the prostate via needles. The approach is through the skin behind the testicles. These "seeds" will give off radiation to the immediate surrounding area of the prostate over several months, killing the cancer cells.
Charlie has now teamed up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to help spread the word. "The statistics are scary, but black men still aren't talking about it," explains Charlie. "A lot of brothers out there don't get checked out because they think they can overcome anything or they think getting tested will take away from their 'manhood'. Well, for years I've been performing, now its time to start informing. A man dies from this disease every 18 minutes. Prostate cancer is serious business."
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men. Age is strongest risk factor. Before the age of 40, only1 in 10,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This risk shoots up to 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 15 for ages 60 to 69.
Race and family history are important as well. African American men are 61% more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men. Black men are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease.
Men with a single first-degree relative—father, brother or son—with a history of prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease, while those with two or more relatives are nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed. The risk is even higher if the affected family members were diagnosed at a young age, with the highest risk seen in men whose family members were diagnosed before age 60.
The purpose of screening for cancer is to detect the cancer before any symptoms have developed. The American Cancer Society recommends that both the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) and DRE (digital rectal exam) should be offered annually, beginning at age 50, to men who have at least a 10-year life expectancy. Men at high risk, such as African American men and men with a strong family history of one or more first-degree relatives diagnosed at an early age, should begin testing at age 45.
If the cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. Symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to those of benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) and include:
A need to urinate frequently, especially at night;
Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine;
Weak or interrupted flow of urine;
Painful or burning urination;
Difficulty in having an erection;
Blood in urine or semen; or
Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Prostate Cancer Foundation