Following the news that actor Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer, doctors are reminding people to get screened to detect cancer early.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer-related cause of death in the United States, according to a news release Monday from Intermountain Healthcare. More than 150,000 Americans develop colorectal cancer each year.
More younger people have been diagnosed with colon cancer in recent years. Cases have risen about 2% annually in recent years for people under 50, according to a recent report by the American Cancer Society. Meanwhile, rates of colorectal cancer have been declining among people over 65.
Boseman — the star of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” who also portrayed real-life heroes Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall — was 43 when his family announced his death Friday. The family said Boseman had been battling colon cancer for four years, and had kept making movies through treatments.
Doctors at Intermountain recommend that both men and women get a colonoscopy starting at age 50 — though the American Cancer Society supports starting colon cancer screening at 45. People with a family history of cancer should also get screened.
Early screening, the doctors say, can save lives by finding colorectal cancer when it’s just a small polyp that can be easily removed.