MADISON, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – After the unexpected death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman following a four-year battle with colon cancer, screening in younger people is being addressed. Most people don’t begin to get screened for colon cancer until age 50. Though experts say they’re seeing more and more young people around Boesman’s age being diagnosed. Michelle Baik reports doctors at the UW are searching for a cure.
Al Falaschi, a husband to a victim of colon cancer said, “He probably had a number of moments when he was questioning if it was something he did to himself.
Al Falaschi imagines how the “Black Panther” star might’ve fought with colon cancer.
“Where did this come from? What did I do? Did I eat something? Did I stand too close to something,” said Falaschi.
Falaschi lost his late wife Kate, after a battle of colon cancer. She was diagnosed at just 29.
“She even pre-dated her mom getting it. It’s just a really terrible disease,” said Falaschi.
Doctor Dustin Deming, cancer researcher at UW-Madison, was in the room for Kate’s treatments.
The UW researcher says in the last half-century, colon cancer patients under 50 have doubled while rectal cancer patients have quadrupled.
“The scary thing is, we really don’t know why,” said Deming.
At age 30 the doctor was diagnosed with the very thing he was trying to cure.
“I’ve had symptoms for a long time, probably for a year or more of bleeding that I ignored. I was my own worst enemy. It’s important for people to not think they know what’s going on. The earlier we find this cancer, the better we can treat them,” said Deming.
The doctor’s now eight years cancer-free, as the screening age has been brought down to 45. However, Boseman’s death suggests, it can still be too late.
“She was outside the age range that anyone can promote screening for. She was 29,” said Falaschi.