MYSTIC Conn. (WTNH) — A mom in Mystic is sharing her battle with colorectal cancer following the death of ‘Black Panther’ actor Chadwick Boseman’s death from the disease last week.
“While I’m really grateful that I’m here, I sometimes get really sad and mad that so much has been taken from me,” says Jenn Fake who was 36-years-old and a vibrant mother with two very young kids when she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
“It’s all they’ve known,” Fake said. “Liza was three and Andrew was 11 months.”
Since then, this Mystic mom has fought as the cancer metastasized, spreading to her liver, lungs, and lymph nodes.
“I’m coming up on five years of stage 4 and the average lifespan of stage 4 is three to five years and you would never know I have cancer,” she says.
Poignant words after the death of 43-year-old actor Chadwick Boseman who kept his struggle private.
“He was young, strong, and fit,” says Fake. “It brings to life how scary this disease is and how quickly it tears you down.”
According to statistics from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, colorectal cancer – which includes colon and rectal cancer – is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2020, including more than 3,600 deaths in people younger than 50 years old.
“This cancer can be prevented,” says Fake, noting that early screenings and colonoscopies are key. Fake hopes the loss of the beloved actor raises awareness.
“Now that it’s been made public, we can all kind of take a lesson from it,” she says.
This mom’s cancer is considered treatable but not curable. She will continue to manage her chronic illness while enjoying every day with her family. But, lately, she’s been feeling the cancer.
“I’m having trouble breathing, I have wheezing,” she says.
But working with the alliance gives her purpose and meaning, as she shares a message that might just make a difference:
“If I can reach one person and one person gets a colonoscopy, I have done my job,” she says.
Screening is recommended at 45-years-old, earlier if there are risk factors.
And, Fake says, if you experience any unusual symptoms, advocate for yourself and see a doctor.
Click here for more information on screenings and prevention.