University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Oncologists: Chadwick Boseman's death from colon cancer at 43 underscores a disturbing trend

By SFChronicle.com | September 3, 2020

Oncologists: Chadwick Boseman's death from colon cancer at 43 underscores a disturbing trend

By Sorbarikor Piawah, Gabriel A. Brooks and Franklin W. Huang | SF Chronicle | Sep. 3, 2020

News of Chadwick Boseman’s private struggle and tragic death from colon cancer at the age of 43 has been especially jarring to the medical community, as it highlights an alarming trend. While colon cancer screening with colonoscopies beginning at the age of 50 has undoubtedly saved lives, colorectal cancer remains a prevalent and challenging disease.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a startling rise in the rates of colon and rectal cancer among individuals younger than 50. By 2030, it is estimated that 1 in 10 colon cancers and 1 in 4 rectal cancers in the United States will be diagnosed in individuals younger than the traditional screening age of 50.

There also exist persistent racial disparities — Black colon cancer patients are 40% more likely than white patients to die from their cancers. While Mr. Boseman’s cancer would not have been detected under current screening guidelines, it is clear that detecting colon cancer earlier and identifying individuals at higher risk should be an important priority.

 

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