MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Actor Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer shocked the world, and it has many people checking up on their own health.
Boseman died at the young age of 43 from cancer that doctors normally recommend getting checked for at the age of 50.
As he battled cancer privately, Boseman visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, hoping to inspire kids who were terminally ill themselves.
He once broke down, nearly in tears, recalling a story about a young boy who was fighting for his life. The child wanted to live to see the premiere of the movie “Black Panther.”
Now that Boseman’s battle with colon cancer has come to light, many are checking up on their health, ensuring they are cancer-free. Dr. David Shibata, a professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery and a cancer surgeon at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said Boseman’s death is a reminder that cancer can strike anyone.
“Given the magnitude of the situation highlighted by the death of Chadwick Boseman, I think this critical and it can happen to any of us,” Shibata said. ” I think as doctors right now, we’re seeing an (increased) rate of colorectal cancer occurring in individuals less than 50 years old.”
The number of colorectal cancers is rising among people who are under 50 years old. Shibata said they are also noticing this is happening more in the African American community as well.
He said not only are the number of cases of colon cancer are on an uptick in the Black community, but so is the mortality rate. But he said there are warning signs people should look out for.
“Whether it’s bleeding or change in your bowel habits, it’s really important to talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer,” Shibata said. “For the men out there certainly do not hesitate to discuss some of these issues with your doctor, whether it’s prostate cancer or colorectal cancer.”
With September being “Prostate Cancer Awareness Month,” Shibata said no time is like the present to have these conversations with your physician.
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