Eric Holland was only 42-years-old when he died. He was a short, hefty Black man who had never been sick a day in his life. We had worked together for over 10 years. He worked at my restaurant part-time and at the Art Museum full-time as a security supervisor.
Eric had a sharp sense of humor and was an extremely nice guy. It wasn’t long before we became very good friends. Then one day he called me to tell me that he had colon cancer. He had just gotten married and had his first child, a little boy that he loved dearly. The proverbial bachelor had finally settled down.
He said that the cancer was stage four, the worst you could have. He would need an operation to remove a large portion of his colon if he was to survive. The operation was a success and he started chemo. They told him that since he was young and strong, his chances were good.
We went on a hiking trip that summer and he seemed to be in good shape and have a lot of energy. But then the next summer he was back in the hospital. The cancer had spread. By July he was gone.
Several things have been shown to help prevent colon cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers around, especially in the African-American community. Vitamin D is one of them.
Eating a diet that is low in preserved and smoked meats is another. Now it looks like low-dose aspirin, shown to be effective in preventing heart attacks, is also good for preventing colon cancer.
According to Medical News Today: “A pooled analysis of five trials with 20 years of follow up suggests that taking a low dose of aspirin may cut the risk of developing and dying from colon cancer, the second most common cancer in developed countries after lung cancer.”
The lose dose aspirin worked well, reducing the incidence of colon cancer by 24% and the chances of dying from the disease by 34%.
The authors of the research said that most of the participants were high risk patients who also had cardiovascular disease. Results have not been studied in other groups.
But if the low-dose aspirin works in other groups, it may be a very low cost way of preventing this common disease that is a scourge among minority populations. The disease is the most common cancer behind lung cancer in all developed countries.