Doctor: Death of 'Black Panther' Boseman a wake-up call

Thursday, September 3, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Chadwick BosemanChadwick Boseman, the actor who gained a fan following for “Black Panther,” recently passed away from colon cancer at age 43, and a doctor says his death should serve as a warning for many.

"In this day and age, everybody in their 40s needs to thinking about colon cancer, unlike in the past," says Dr. Jeff Fenyves, a gastroenterologist based in Kingsport, Tennessee. "It used to be that only a small percentage, maybe six percent of colon cancer, was in people under age 50, although that statistic has actually risen to 11-12 percent now. It has doubled." 

When it comes to people over 50, Dr. Fenyves says doctors are seeing fewer cases of colon cancer. That, he says, is mostly due to screenings.

Meanwhile, black people have a higher risk of colon cancer.

"It may be as much as 20 percent in black men, higher, and substantially higher also for mortality rate," says Fenyves. "A lot of times, culturally, black communities come in later for screening, or they are more hesitant to show symptoms or talk about symptoms."

Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2016 and worked his film career around his fight against it. 

That brings up this point: Talk to your doctor.

"Even in your 30s, we've taken out numerous, large polyps which would have turned into cancer in the next year had the patient not come in for rectal bleeding when they did," says Fenyves.

Even if you do not get a good explanation of your symptoms when you visit a doctor, the doctor suggests seeking additional care.

"The second thing is, a lot of people think if they don't have a family history that they're aware of that they're not at high risk," the doctor continues "Actually, 62 percent of people in the last couple of years under the age 50 that got colon cancer actually had no family history. So this is not reserved for just people that have a family history.”

Boseman also starred as Jackie Robinson in the film "42."

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