Reflecting on World Cancer Day: The Importance of Cancer Screening and Health Checkups (RIP Anthony Lloyd Gilliard)

“We must do more to end the many tragedies that cancer inflicts. About one-third of cancers can be prevented, while others are curable if diagnosed and treated early. And even when cancer is advanced, patients should benefit from palliative care.”

– Ban Ki-moon


In honor of yesterday’s World Cancer Day, I wanted to share some thoughts on my personal loss of a loved one and the importance of cancer screening and testing.  As evident, Cancer is truly an ugly disease.  Regardless of your family, relationships, finances, personal accomplishments and most importantly, one’s own health—cancer doesn’t care; it’s devastating.  At the heart, Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells.  It can affect almost any part of the body.  the growth often invades surrounding tissue and can metastasize to distant sites, such as vital organs.


Tragically, On October 2, 2012, my much beloved cousin, Anthony (Big Tone) Lloyd Gilliard, passed away at the young age of 36 years old.  He was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer metastasized to the Liver.  Perhaps, an earlier detection could have saved his life.  No one knows for sure; however, his death brings me to the conclusion that as men, Black men in particular, it’s imperative that we stay on top of our health.  Those annual medical checkups that we tend to ‘put off until tomorrow or next week,’ are crucial in discovering any health issues as early as possible.  If we procrastinate on this longer than necessary, tomorrow may never come.  Annual medical checkups, cancer screenings (especially if certain types of cancers are hereditary in your family or you’re at the age where you should be regularly tested) and Colonoscopy testing… get them done people!

Anthony Lloyd Gilliard | October 27, 1975 – October 2, 2012

Anthony Lloyd Gilliard:  Loving father, loyal brother, relentless fighter, first cousin and best friend… we love you and miss you immensely. Rest in power bro…

Please feel free to share your stories on dealing with personal experiences when it comes to cancer.  Sometimes we tend to keep things to ourselves, to avoid being a burden to others.  Let’s talk about it.  I hope to hear from some of you.

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