Honoring a Legend
- Late actor Chadwick Boseman won a Golden Globe for his work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the star’s last film that he worked on while battling colon cancer. He died from the disease in August at age 43. Boseman’s widow tearfully accepted the award on behalf of her love. “He would thank his incredible team … he would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of us that tells you you can, that tells you to keep going.”
- “Not only was he a great actor, but he was an even better human being,” said Boseman’s 42 co-star Christopher Meloni to host Susan Kelechi Watson during the Golden Globes Pre-Show.
- March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. A leading expert tells SurvivorNet that most of the people who get colon cancer have no family history, so it’s best to get in and get screened by your doctor.
Boseman won best actor in a motion picture drama for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.Read More
“And I don’t have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love, so thank you HFPA for this opportunity to do exactly that,” she continued. She concluded the speech by speaking directly to her late love. “And hon … you keep ’em coming,” referring to winning more awards.
Living Your Passion
Boseman’s well-deserved first Globe win for his work in the August Wilson adaptation is not just an award for the actor’s legacy, family, and fans, but it’s also a win for the cancer community.
Filming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom meant so much to this brave man, who worked while privately battling colon cancer. Boseman did not let cancer take away his passion, which was to work on this film with producer Denzel Washington.
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“Certain members of his team knew [about Boseman’s diagnosis]. His wife was there,” Washington told CBS Sunday Morning. “They weren’t even married yet. And I used to watch how she took care of him, and I actually said to him, I said, ‘Man, you know, you need to put a ring on that finger,’ cause she kept her eye on him and she watched him. And I’m like, ‘Man, she loves that guy.’ You know, but I didn’t know what we know now.”
A Private Battle
Boseman died of colon cancer four years after his initial diagnosis. Considered a real-life superhero for his leading man status in the award-winning box office hit Black Panther, Boseman chose to keep his battle private, stunning fans worldwide when he died. Cancer can be as public or private as a person wishes; every battle is different. But public figures sometimes go through a lot more scrutiny over why they aren’t more open about it.
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“Chadwick did not want to have people fuss over him. He was a very private person,” Bozeman’s agent Michael Greene told the Hollywood Reporter. Greene shared that Bozeman was “really in hard-core pain” working with Denzel Washington on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Working with Washington was so “exciting to him,” so he chose to keep working. The South-Carolina native specifically chose roles that would “bring light,” he never gravitated toward dark roles, according to Greene.
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During the Globes pre-show, Christopher Meloni, who worked with Boseman in the film 42, told host Susan Kelechi Watson that when he observed how the late star carried himself on set when the cameras weren’t rolling, he realized that “not only was he a great actor, but he was an even better human being. His passing affected me deeply.”
Boseman was also recently honored in January at the 30th annual Gotham Awards. Ledward accepted the awards on Boseman’s behalf calling him “the most honest person I ever met.”
“He didn’t just stop at speaking the truth. He actively searched for it in himself and those around him…he was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the none, the one, and the all,” she said. Boseman is nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild award for his role in Ma’ Rainey’s Black Bottom and is predicted to be nominated for an Oscar.
Getting Screened for Colon Cancer
It is important to get screened for colon cancer even if you have no family history. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45.
Symptoms of colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one
- Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
- Blood in the stool, which might make it look dark brown or black
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Losing weight without trying
Dr. Heather Yeo, a colorectal surgeon at Weill-Cornell Medical Center, discusses the top two myths associated with colon cancer and getting checked, and sets the facts straight with SurvivorNet.
Myth #1: Colonoscopies are the only way to detect colon cancer.
The verdict: Not true. Though colonoscopies are the best way, there are a lot of other methods — like fecal occult blood tests (which look at a sample of your stool) and fecal immunochemical tests (FIT). “The [tests] have different roles and you should talk to a medical provider about what’s best for you, but there are a lot of options,” Dr. Yeo says.
Myth #2: Only people with a family history can get colon cancer.
The verdict: Not true. “In fact, the majority of people who get colon cancer have no family history,” Dr. Yeo says. “The reason I do the specialty is because if we screen patients early, cancers can be prevented. We can have really good survival outcomes and so I tell that to a lot of my patients. It’s important to have a positive outlook for that.”
Listen to Your Body
A good way to stay ahead of any potential health issue is to pay attention to your body. If something seems off, go check it out. The Today show’s Craig Melvin reminds us of this is as he helps bring awareness to colon cancer in younger adults.
“Colon cancer, for a long time—in fact, I would contend up until fairly recently—was thought of as an elderly person’s disease,” Melvin tells us. “We’ve seen a steady decline in colorectal cancer cases overall over the past decade or so. But over that same time period, we have seen an annual increase—somewhere between 1.5% and 2% every year of cases of colorectal cancer in people under the age of 45, But if you get screened, if you listen to your body, it is also arguably the most treatable cancer as well.”