Sadly we must report that soul/gospel singer Candi Staton has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Staton, 78, received the news on the first day of rehearsals for her summer tour in support of her 30th studio album, Unstoppable, reports The Guardian.

“I decided to keep it to myself and do some soul-searching. I went through all of the emotions: denial, ‘poor me’ and anger. It really helped me to be on the road, doing something I love to do, and was born to do,” Staton said in a statement.

Staton’s 12 weeks of chemotherapy started today (10-30-18). She’s encouraging women, “including elderly women — to get a regular mammogram.”

Speaking with Rolling Stone, Staton said she noticed a lump on her left breast earlier this year.

“I’ve always taken such good care of myself. How in the world did this happen to me?” She took the decision to persist with her tour dates. “You go through your down days, you go through your pity days, but then you come up the next day and you say, ‘I’m not going to take this.’ You’re not going to take my life. I’m going to fight.”

Besides Cancer, Staton also spoke on the other obstacles she has endured.

“After all I’ve gone through in my life – the domestic abuse, the bad relationships, alcoholism, fighting with record labels for royalties and all of that stuff – it’s the last thing I ever expected to go through, but I’m going through it and I plan to beat it.”

Staton has experienced a number of controlling relationships. Her 1976 hit Young Hearts Run Free concerned her marriage to her then manager, Jimmy James.

“When I realized what he was truly like, he started to say, ‘If you leave me I’ll kill you and I’ll kill your children. I’ll pick ’em off one by one, I’ll get them from school and I’ll put ’em in the car and you’ll never see ’em again,’” she told the Guardian in 2006. “So it just felt safer to stay.”

She has described how her faith helped her beat the alcoholism that colored the first decade of her career.

“That was in the 70s. I’ve not had another drink since,” she told the Belfast Telegraph this summer.

Staton told Rolling Stone that she wanted to use her experiences to encourage women of all ages to get tested for cancer.

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