31 Aug 2020
Black Panther Shows us Colon Cancer Isn’t a Disease of the Past
The world is stunned by news that global superstar Chadwick Boseman died Friday after a 4-year battle against colon cancer. The news of the Black Panther star’s death hit me on a level I wasn’t quite ready to handle.
August 28 was also my father’s birthday. If alive, he would have turned 78. But he died at age 40 of colon cancer. His first tumor found when he was 38. He went through a couple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. His life cut short by a disease that has taken many. That was the early 1980s. My brother and I were instructed to start having colonoscopies at the age of 28–ten years before the age our father was first diagnosed.
Jumping ahead nearly forty years, you assume lower death rates because technology and screening procedures are more advanced. The disease is preventable because even if a polyp is found, it can be removed before it turns cancerous. Chadwick Boseman’s death proves people still do get colon cancer in their thirties. Some even younger. He had so many years to give. His art and the way he lived his life celebrated honor and exemplified grace. His death shows us there is a long way to go to eradicate colon cancer and the heartache survivors feel when their loved one receives this diagnosis. I hope you can be the superhero in the lives of your family and get screened. Do it for them. Do it for the promise that is still left in your life.