Remembering Chadwick Boseman
- Simone Ledward Boseman, Chadwick Boseman’s widow, accepted the NAACP best actor award on her husband’s behalf Saturday. He won for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The actor died at age 43 from colon cancer.
- Ledward Boseman used the acceptance speech to make a plea to Black people to get screened for colon cancer.
- “This disease is beatable if you catch it in its early stages, so you don’t have any time to waste,” Ledward Boseman said.
With those words at Saturday’s NAACP Awards, Chadwick Boseman’s widow passionately urged Black people to get screened for colon cancer.Read More
“Please, you are so needed and you are so loved, please take your health into your own hands,” she said.
Outstanding Actor In A Motion Picture goes to… Chadwick Boseman! Congratulations! We can honor his legacy by visiting https://t.co/gmZDyIUWxI to gain awareness. #NAACPImageAwards pic.twitter.com/xzEJnT3OHC
BET (@BET) March 28, 2021
Boseman, who captivated audiences as the star of Black Panther in 2018, won a Golden Globe Award for his Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom performance in February. Ledward Boseman tearfully accepted the award on behalf of her love: "He would thank his incredible team â€¦ 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."
Boseman is also nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. The Oscars are April 25.
Getting Screened for Colon Cancer
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 day
- 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."
Knowing Your Family History
Another public figure who is raising awareness for colon cancer (in younger Black men specifically) is Today co-host Craig Melvin, who lost his brother Lawrence Meadows to the disease. Like Boseman, Meadows was only 43 when he passed, and he was diagnosed at age 39. Melvin stresses the importance of learning your family history with cancer. When his brother was diagnosed, his family started having those conversations and in turn, found that there was a history of colon cancer in his family.
“My older brother, Lawrence, had been having some issues with his stomach several years ago,” Melvin tells SurvivorNet, “and he went to his doctor in South Carolina. And because he was so young– at the time, he was 39– the doctor, for the most part, dismissed it. They went back a few weeks later, and the doctor ultimately said, you know, let’s just rule out all of the terrible things by giving you a CT scan.”
“At the time, it was roughly the size of a grapefruit, and it had metastasized,” Melvin says, pointing out that his brother didn’t drink or smoke, and was a college athlete. “He was a perfect picture of health. So when we got the second opinion, we were stunned, to say the least. One of the things that we found out after my brother was diagnosed is that there was, in fact, a family history of colorectal cancer.”
It didn’t come up until they started asking questions.