Four Best Friends Fight Cancer Together
By Don Spears
Four African-American men, best friends since childhood, grew up in the same neighborhood in New Orleans, went to the same schools, the same church, and fought cancer at the same time.
In this open, revealing and ultimately healing testimony, Ronald P. Bazile, Sr., Ellis M. Brossett, Sr., Preston J. Edwards, Sr. and Benjamin M. Priestley share their experiences from diagnosis and testing through treatment.
In what could be seen as their darkest moment the men decided to take a stand against this dreaded disease and poured their remarkable stories into “You Have Cancer” to shine a spotlight on the devastation that the illness is causing in the African-American community. The friends wrote the book, sharing their deeply personal experiences with the hope of saving lives by encouraging other African-American men to be proactive about their health and visit their doctors for regular physical check-ups and cancer screenings.
Their work on the book began in 2001 and was interrupted in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. It was finally completed after the passing of Ellis Brossett, Sr., one of the original four friends. The surviving three commented, “We made a commitment to Ellis, who passed away, that this book would be published and we determined to fulfilled that commitment.”
Every man over 40, and every woman who cares about a man over 40, should read this book.
Why? Cancer is the second leading cause of death. It is time to take the Big “C” out of the closet and expose all of its mysteries. Cancer is an enemy you should know. A few facts:
• African-American men have the highest cancer incidence and death rate.
• While the American Cancer Society recently reported that death rates from cancer have been declining, the cancer death rate is still 38% higher for African-American men compared to white men.
• African Americans have the shortest survival rate of any race or ethnic group.
With the double whammy of awareness and action, we can beat cancer now. Everyone knows an African-American male over 40—it could be a husband, a daddy, a granddaddy, a teacher or a preacher. Urge him to go to a doctor now for a complete physical check-up. Don’t put it off. We are advocating that African-American men go to the doctor on their birthday, so they won’t forget. This will help in early detection, and cure. At this very moment, cancer is eating away at some unsuspecting African-American man, and he does not even know it. In some cases, the cancer can grow from the size of a lemon seed to the size of a lemon in one month.
According to Harold P. Freeman, M.D., Medical Director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Cure and Prevention, “Most of the deaths from cancer are preventable. …,” “… we currently know how to substantially reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer in African Americans.”
This important book describes the experiences of four African-American men as they battle cancer. It could save the lives of many more.