People around the world were shocked when at the age of 43, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died earlier this year of colon cancer. How does an illness usually associated with people who are elderly take their life at a very young age?
It’s the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Initially, the star was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, meaning it had spread into his intestinal wall already. It finally advanced to stage 4, suggesting that beyond his digestive tract, the malignancy had progressed.
With Boseman’s death in view, images from his prior performances have been recirculated online, including a recording of Boseman tearing up while talking about meeting two young fans with terminal cancer.
There are two little kids, Ian and Taylor, who recently passed from cancer, and throughout our filming, I was communicating with them, knowing that they were both terminal.Chadwick Boseman said in the 2018 interview with SiriusXM
Researchers found that from 1989 to the early 2000s, the average age of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer was 72, but by 2016 it declined to 66. Death rates often differ by age demographic, with decreased mortality in older patients, although substantial changes are seen in those younger than 50 years of age.
Colorectal cancer, sadly, is now attacking younger people. The American Cancer Society predicts that 12 percent of cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in individuals younger than 50 this year, primarily because precancerous development was not identified before becoming malignant in the early stages.
In reaction, the U.S. The Task Force for Preventive Services is also calling for physicians to check for colon cancer before patients turn 45, rather than 50-even patients with no disease signs or personal or family records. The national medical experts’ panel expects that more lives will be saved by closing the five-year gap.
In Malaysia, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in males and the third most common cancer in females.
The economic burden of colorectal cancer is substantial and is likely to increase over time in Malaysia owing to the current trend in colorectal cancer incidence.
Colon cancer is curable if caught early
“Colon cancer is extremely curable when caught in early stages, stages 1 and 2 when the cancer is limited to the intestinal wall,” said Rivadeneira.
He clarified that surgery has a very good chance of recovery. “An 80 to 95 percent cure rate is given by surgery alone for early-stage colon cancer,” said Rivadeneira. He confirmed that surgery normally requires removing the cancer section of the colon along with the nearby lymph nodes.
He stated that most operations are carried out using minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopic (“key-hole”) or robotic surgery. Such approaches mean fewer incisions, less pain, and a faster recovery.
“Those cancers that have spread to the local lymph nodes are graded as stage 3 and in addition to treatment, may also need chemotherapy and have a mortality of 40 to 65 percent,” Rivadeneira said. He continues that patients whose cancer progresses to other main organs are stage 4 and have a 35 percent or lower 5-year survival rate even with chemotherapy.
Who is at risk the most?
The individuals at highest risk for colorectal cancer, Rivadeneira said, include:
- People with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease with inflammatory bowel disease
- Many with genetic susceptibility, also known as Lynch syndrome, or a family history of the condition called inherited nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)
- People with a diagnosis of intestinal polyps or colon cancer
“It seems like cigarettes and those with obesity also have an elevated chance of contracting cancer of the colon and rectum,” Rivadeneira says. Yet he says, “Colon cancer is associated with fewer diets rich in fibre and poor in red meat intake.”
He clarified that exercising, remaining healthy, and maintaining a normal weight is important, “as obesity has been linked to an increase in colon cancer.”
Chadwick Boseman’s recent death highlights how colorectal cancer can take the lives of those under 50.
Experts claim that this form of cancer has an over 90 percent 5-year survival rate if caught early enough.