Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, producer and prostate cancer survivor Charlie Wilson and Janssen Biotech, Inc. are teaming up on Making Awareness a Priority: Putting Prostate Cancer on the M.A.P., a new program designed to raise awareness among African- American men and their families about prostate cancer and its disproportionate impact on the African- American community. With the highest incidence of prostate cancer of any race in the U.S., African- American men are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian men. Making Awareness a Priority (M.A.P.) brings together leading voices in advocacy and health education through live events in select cities across the country.
In recognition of National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the program kicks off on April 21 in Atlanta, Georgia with program resources available online at My Prostate Cancer Roadmap®.
Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. “At first, I never wanted to talk about my cancer. Then I realized that after spending a lot of my life performing, it was time to start informing. That’s why I am continuing to raise my voice to help those with prostate cancer by joining with Janssen Biotech, Inc. in the Making Awareness a Priority program – to encourage African-American men to understand their risk factors for prostate cancer and start a conversation with their loved ones and doctors about this serious and deadly disease.”
The average annual prostate cancer incidence rate in the U.S. was 60 percent higher in African-American men than in Caucasian men between 2003 and 2007. Factors including family history, access to medical care and relevant support networks may contribute to the disproportionate impact. In addition to being at higher risk for prostate cancer, according to research of the impact of cultural factors on African-American men’s understanding of the disease, these men often believe they do not have access to information about prostate cancer that takes into account their diverse values, beliefs, behaviors and social and cultural needs.
M.A.P. will address these issues head on through informational and wellness events offering African- American men and their loved ones the opportunity to learn about prostate cancer risks and information and support resources available to them. The three-city tour of Atlanta, New York City and Chicago is sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. and held in partnership with locally based community organizations in these markets. Real Men Charities, Inc., the national not-for-profit organization, presents Real Men Cook® Father’s Day events as a national crusade to positively change the way the world views men in relationship to their families and the community. The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the city of New York, the oldest black Baptist church in the nation, is well-known for its leadership, social activism initiatives, and community reform programs to educate and empower its members and the Harlem community at large.
“When I first learned I had prostate cancer, I thought my career was over. I thought it was a wrap for me,” said Wilson, but his wife quickly proved to be his greatest supporter. “My wife stood tall and told me we were going to get through it. You just have to have a positive heart and go on. That’s what we did, and now I want others to know about the resources that are available to them.”
At each event, Wilson will share his personal experience with prostate cancer and will be joined by Stanley K. Frencher Jr., M.D., MPH, who through his work encourages African-American men to proactively speak with their doctors about prostate cancer; and journalist and author Andrea King Collier. As a strong advocate for empowering African-American women to take an active role in managing their loved ones’ health, Collier will emcee the events and share insights from her book, The Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health. The program also includes interactive prostate cancer information, resources and a cooking demonstration with healthy, food choices.
“African-American men are at a greater risk for prostate cancer, and it is important that we support the African-American community with information that is both relevant and compelling,” said Robert Bazemore, the president of Janssen Biotech, Inc. “Janssen Biotech is pleased to join Charlie Wilson and our local community partners to provide those who are at high-risk of, or living with, prostate cancer with the resources they need to help them navigate all aspects of their cancer journey.”
To register for an event or to find out more about Making Awareness a Priority, including live event dates and locations, visit www.myprostatecancerroadmap.com. The website is a unique educational and support resource for men with advanced prostate cancer and their loved ones sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. in conjunction with the non-profit organization Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network.
About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate gland. Normally, cells within the prostate grow, divide and die to ensure the prostate functions properly and are then replaced by new cells. Prostate cancer occurs when the prostate cells stop functioning normally. These cells with uncontrolled growth don’t die as they should, creating a buildup of cells known as a tumor. Prostate cancer can occur as a slow-growing tumor to a very aggressive and potentially fatal disease that spreads throughout the body.
For more information on Janssen Biotech, Inc. or its products, visit www.janssenbiotech.com.