In 2008, Charlie Wilson thought his career and life were over when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The crooner recalled noticing lower back pain and frequent urination while touring and recording his 2009 album, Uncle Charlie. He explained in a 2012 interview with Coping Magazine, “I was doing a lot of exercise, so I thought I was pulling my lower back by lifting too heavy and I would drink a lot of water before bed, so I was up and down, going to the restroom a lot.”
After his wife’s insistence to get a Prostate-Specific Antigen test and a prostate exam during his annual physical, he realized the signs he was casually dismissing were actually early symptoms of prostate cancer. He was 55 at the time of his diagnosis.
With September being National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Uncle Charlie (as he’s lovingly called) took to social media with a public service announcement for men. The now 68-year-old singer wrote, “I survived prostate cancer and I want all the fellas out there to know that early detection is the key to living a healthy life.”
I survived prostate cancer and I want all the fellas out there to know that early detection is the key to living a healthy life. ??? pic.twitter.com/UoxyDrFAzi
— Charlie Wilson (@CharlieWilson) September 14, 2021
Luckily, for Wilson, his cancer was caught early and treated with brachytherapy—a procedure that delivers radiation only to a concentrated area of the prostate gland.
“I could have woken up and left, but they wanted me to stay an extra day. I think so they could all get an autograph,” he teased. The Gap Band lead singer also shared, “Spreading awareness and having conversations about prostate cancer is very important. We can help each other. Silence is deadly. We have to talk about it.”
In recent years, Wilson has been more vocal about his prostate cancer journey as Black men are 1.6 times more likely to get prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it. These days, the R&B legend is staying healthy due to his diet and daily workout routine.