Chadwick Boseman’s battle with colon cancer

Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist Dr. Andrea Cercek talks about colon cancer after “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman died from the disease at the age of 43.
6:02 | 08/31/20

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Transcript for Chadwick Boseman’s battle with colon cancer
We turn out of the tragic death this week in of Chadwick Bozeman at the age of 43. The gifted actor best known for his lead role in marbles black panther as well as spills betraying the lives of Jackie Robinson and James brown and Thurgood Marshall. According to a statement announcing his death. Bozeman filmed several recent roles between quote countless surgeries and chemotherapy. After he was diagnosed in 2016 with colon cancer. Lessons hometown city of Anderson, South Carolina announcing it will hold a memorial service this Thursday. The mayor saying this city will plan for social distancing and saying Bozeman quote. Touched us all with his talents. Boy want to continue the conversation now about colon cancer and how we can protect ourselves from this silent killer doctor. Andreas or sack is an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who specializes. In this disease and joins us now to continue the conversation. Doctors are sec it's so great to see you in. You know getting it colonoscopy it it's deathly the key first step in detecting and treating colon cancer we definitely know that. Yet the various experts seem to give us conflicting advice like the CDC recommends starting these tests at fifty the American Cancer Society says age 45. And then we hear the sad news. That Chadwick most men died even younger than that at the age of 43 so. What do you think when should we start actually getting colonoscopy is and what early symptoms should we look out for. And so that's a great question and it's very important question Nancy pointed out so bottom line is. Colin d.s can prevent colorectal cancer from developing and they can save lives and we know that. Looking at patients. In over fifty who have got a colonoscopy is we've clearly seen in nice deep greens in the incident to search key issue is that we are seeing any trends. Early onset or young minds of colorectal cancer and so he answered the agents under the age of fifty where we are not traditionally recommending screening colonoscopy each. Have been rising steadily since the mid 1990s so that's the reason now for this to a as to whether or not we should change screening guidelines and the American cancer society and decided that based on our. Really on computer modeling of this rise in incidence. That we should screen younger than age fifty because when this intervention we will save lives in that each group not a problem is. It's an and highest rise is actually in individuals aged twenty to thirty. Even though it's rising and it's actually projected that lives in this decade by the end of this decade. Quarter colorectal cancers in nearly 10% of all call and users. Are going to be patients under safety in numbers are still not. Large enough to justify changing our guidelines to aged funny so so so why the rise in younger patients says he just mentions. So we don't know that is the that is I think a huge recent questions a huge dilemma that he's really what we are all working very very hard in search. The initial thoughts or perhaps it's obesity another risk factors that we know have changed. In our society we're more sad interior diets has changed. I'm however that's really not the population that we see. In our large cancer center looked at the memorial and others have looked as well. And these nations really are not beast they're active they're thick. The Eagles quite fit this profile what you would consider high risk so there's something else that is harming best. I rise in incidents and it actually happens to be a global phenomenon it's not just across the United States it's. Worldwide and we also don't talk about it a lot you know what the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. So why don't we talk about it more. I think it's important you know I don't know why I'm believe cancer doctor and talk. Not at all they want to tell anyone who wants to listen push amnesty said it at least is the second most common cause down. And it is preventable. And ended a unit mentioned earlier we get attention sure Cincinnati that is east where young individuals under the age of 45 if you persistent symptoms. Steve's your care provider. Get a colonoscopy if necessary its engines would include things like leading. A lot of the tumors are reckless tensions over it people present with a rectal bleeding. Bloating abdominal pain she engine now it's unexplained weight loss and fatigue those are all important. Things to discuss with your ear care provider if you if you're seeing these changes and they're not ten just transient lasting a few days. I think it's fair to say what you know. It's a very uncomfortable thing to talk about right we need to be more blunt and more open about this as unbeaten. Comfortable it is it may be right. A little later and there's nothing it saves and Oregon just like any other it's a procedure. That you get an overly thin it's important and then you know once we kind of continue this conversation and they look. Just get it done you'll see that it's it's really easy it's not such a big deal. More people leaving will will be aware and we'll get a look at all. And in the black community is disproportionately affected by colon cancer. At how can we best address this disparity. Yet the news. The difficult situations and we know that in the black community incidences higher in the mortality is higher from colorectal cancer what we don't know. It is a different biology do they have more aggressive disease. Or is that simply access to care so I think it's the same thing getting the word out. To the communities to think you're the rioters engineers astronauts Ronald just this is something that really must have been. Age 45 and older and it's a younger individual if there any concern in symptoms it's really something that the house to be addressed. Great advice doctor undress or sect thank you so much for your time. Thank you very much for having me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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