Four Cancer-Survivor Friends Set Out on Mission to Promote Preventive Care, Healthy Living

June 19, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
As lifelong New Orleans resident Preston Edwards Sr. continues to rebuild his business nearly 2 years after Hurricane Katrina, he isn’t panicking. As far as he’s concerned, life is real good.

For nearly two years leading up to Katrina, he was battling cancer. Now, he is a survivor – and proud of it. So much so that Edwards, publisher of the 36-year-old Black Collegian Magazine, and three of his childhood friends, who each got diagnosed with a life-threatening form of cancer at the same time, are on a mission to make sure every man over 40 goes to the doctor to get their annual check up.

“People have asked me,” said Edwards, 63, “’Why would write a book with that title? That’s just too scary.’ I give everybody the same answer. ‘You telling me it’s scary. I’m here, alive and well, to tell you the story that I want everybody to hear.’ My friends and I are using this experience to offer encouragement and inspiration to anybody having cancer – and to provide advice and resources for them and their family to get through what is a terribly challenging time of your life.”

The men – Edwards, Ronald P. Bazile Sr., Ellis M. Brossett, Sr. and Benjamin M. Priestley - have even written the newly released book – ‘You Have Cancer’ (Domain Developers LLC, 2007, 156 pp, $12, It chronicles the emotional journey from the time they were first told they had cancer and through the arduous days of enduring chemotherapy and now the joy in knowing they had all avoided a ‘death sentence’. Edwards was diagnosed with cancer of an ‘unknown primary’; Bazile with prostate cancer; and Priestley with lung cancer. In the midst of writing the book, Ellis M. Brossett Jr. died after additional complications that popped up after his battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma.

Edwards, owner of IMDiversity Inc., wrote “You Have Cancer” with his friends to raise awareness about this disease that is likely to touch more than 152,000 people this year, according to the American Cancer Society. The book offers and extensive ‘Advice’ section where writer Don Spears offers a ‘Ten Step” plan on how to deal with loved ones as well as tips on nutrition. Dr. Harold P. Freeman, medical director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, explains how many deaths from cancer are preventable and encourages people, particularly African-American men, to watch their diets, exercise and to stop smoking.