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Doctors encourage colon screenings after death of Chadwick Boseman

Death of Chadwick Boseman casts light on growing rates of colon cancer in young people
Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 12:50:24-04

San Diego (KGTV)- The entertainment world is left in shock after the death of Chadwick Boseman. The Hollywood star lost his battle with colon cancer. He was just 43 years old. Local physicians are stressing the importance of getting screened.

For four years, the actor fought a silent battle with this cancer. He was diagnosed in his late 30's, much younger than the age many get tested.

"What we have seen is in younger people, the rates of colon cancer are going up and have actually gone up every decade, and the reasons for that are not known," says Dr. Abi Olulade with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.

Olulade says the rates of colon cancer are higher in the African American community.

"Not only is there an increased rate in colon cancer, but there's an increased chance of dying from this if you are African American," says Olulade.

The American Cancer Society estimates 12-percent of colorectal cancer diagnosis this year will be in people under the age of 50.

"People have put off their screening, which is dangerous," says Dr. Walter Coyle with the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Coyle says due to the pandemic, fewer patients are coming in for screenings.

"The American Cancer Society says we should start screening people at age 45 and up now. All the other societies say 50 unless you're African American."

Coyle says a healthy diet can help lower the risks of this cancer. He hopes the news of famous actor Chadwick Boseman will encourage people to get their screenings.

"I couldn't imagine someone that young and vigorous dying. This goes to show cancer doesn't pick favorites or the weak.