Expert urges screening for colon cancer after death of ‘Black Panther’ actor


(WTNH)– Fans are still mourning the death of actor Chadwick Boseman. The 43-year-old died Friday after years of a private battle with colon cancer.

Tributes are pouring in after the loss of an iconic Hollywood actor.

“I didn’t have enough time with Chadwick. He was here far too short a time,” said Don Cheadle.

Chadwick Boseman, ‘The Black Panther’ actor, lost his battle with colon cancer at just 43-years-old. Health professionals are calling it a wake-up call for young people to take notice.

“In 2020, we’ll had about 140,000 people who will be diagnosed and about 50,000 deaths. And when you look at that, 11% of those colon cancer patients are going to be in younger onset patients who are less than 50,” said Dr. Lynn O’Connor.

Dr Lynn O’Connor, Chief of the Division of Colon & Rectal Surgery at St. Joseph Hospital in New York, says this form of cancer not only disproportionately impacts young people, but the mortality rate is even higher among African-Americans.

“When you’re looking at African-Americans, it could be access to care, health disparities, but I find we’re living in a more sedentary lifestyle, we’re not working out as much,” said O’Connor.

She says the pandemic has impacted screenings and exercise, but it’s time to take control again. Start paying attention to your body, find out if someone in your family has ever had colon cancer and know the symptoms.

“Change in bowel habits, stools are thinner, you’re not going as much, constipated, rectal bleeding, weight loss, change in appetite, abdominal pain. But the key is, you want to get screened before those symptoms happen, most times when you start seeing symptoms, you’re at a more advanced stage,” said O’Connor.

The 43-year-old actor gone too soon should be a wake up call for young people, young African-Americans and the population as a whole. Colon cancer can be treated when caught early but getting screened is key.

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