A Modern-Day Hero
- Actor Michael B. Jordan, 34, is the latest star to share what friend and co-star Chadwick Boseman—who lost his life at 43 to colon cancer last year—meant to him. “There are generations of kids coming up that look to him,” he told Vanity Fair. “It’s incredible. And losing him was…Yeah, man, it hurt. It hurt a lot. That’s probably what made me cry the most this year.”
- Boseman is widely predicted to win a best actor Golden Globe Sunday for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It was his final film role.
- A top expert tells SurvivorNet that most people with colon cancer have no family history, therefore it’s still important to get screened.
Boseman died of colon cancer at age 43 in August. He’s nominated for best performance by an actor in a motion picture drama for his role in the August Wilson adaptation Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He’s widely favored to win.Read More
As the lead in 2018’s award-winning Black Panther film, Boseman was a modern-day legend. The film was the highest grossing film by a black director and the number one solo superhero movie worldwide, according to Forbes. The film’s success inspired Black artists in the industry to keep going, despite being told ‘no.’
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Jordan—who graces this month’s group cover of Vanity Fair, along with actors Charlize Theron, Zendaya, and Sacha Baron Cohen—said that despite all the tragedies we faced in 2020, the loss of his pal (and former Black Panther co-star) upset him the most. Chadwick.
“Our relationship was a very personal one and had a lot of great moments—some that I couldn’t fully appreciate and fully understand until now,” he said. “I wish I had more time to have our relationship evolve, and grow, and become closer and stronger. We got a concentrated dose of Chadwick. He did more in his 43 years of life than most people have done in a lifetime. And he was here for the time he was supposed to be here, and he had his impact, and his legacy.”
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Boseman’s Ma Rainey co-star Viola Davis (who some may know from ABC’s legal drama Scandal) had some poignant words to share about her friend, and said she does not view his life as tragic. “I broke down when I heard he passed. Lord knows we all would’ve wanted him to live another 50 years. We all want longevity. But I can’t see his life tragically at all,” Davis shared with Yahoo!entertainment. “… Because I felt like he was always living in the moment, squeezing out every bit of life. What it makes me think is, it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.”
A Loving Husband Remembered
Boseman was honored in January at the 30th annual Gotham Awards. (He’s also nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild award and is predicted to be nominated for an Oscar.) Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award saying, Boseman was “the most honest person I ever met, because 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 thanked her late husband and signed off with, “I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us.”
Film legend Denzel Washington, who produced Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom noticed how wonderful Ledward was with her husband while he was sick on set. “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.”
Getting Screened for Colon Cancer
It is important to get screened for colon cancer even if you have no family history. The ACS 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.”