CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chadwick Boseman was only 43-years-old when his life was cut short because of colon cancer.
Boseman’s death is serving as an important reminder to undergo regular screening. It also has the medical community questioning whether they should change the screening guidelines.
Boseman was idolized for his lead roles in “Black Panther,” “42,” and “Thurgood.” He died two years before medical experts recommend beginning colorectal screening.
“He was amazing. We have to learn more. I mean my mom, she’s fighting with the colon cancer. She’s in Puerto Rico,” said Argo Lugo of Springfield.
Colon cancer is considered the third most common cancer among both men and women in the U.S. and Baystate Health said they do see it a lot at their hospitals. They told us the factors that contribute to colon cancer and how early you should get screened.
Risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol use, and eating red and processed meat. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you won’t get colon cancer.
Dr. Daniel Fish, a colorectal surgeon at Baystate Medical Center, told 22News, “Unforgettably colon cancer is still going to occur in some people, despite all those things, so its important that you undergo screening for colon cancer. While a colonoscopy can be intimidating, its a actually a very easy procedure.”
Dr. Fish said they are seeing an increase in young people and African Americans developing colon cancer. Because of this, he thinks the recommendation may change for African Americans, to get screened before the age of 45.
The stage of cancer determines the mortality rate. If its caught at Stage 1, there is only a one to five percent risk of death, but it goes up to 25 percent at Stage 3.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, but at that time the cancer was already at Stage 3.