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The death of Chadwick Boseman at age 43 shocked the world.

When we lose loved ones, celebrities, or icons in our world to cancer at such a young age, many people search for answers to their questions.

Unfortunately, colon cancer rates are increasing for people under 50 years old, with the steepest increase in adults age 20-36 (Colorectal Cancer Alliance). Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer when was 39, which is six years younger than the CDC’s recommended screening age for black men.

Certain communities are also at a higher risk of getting and dying from colorectal cancer. In fact, black men and women are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die from the disease (American Cancer Society). Black men have a 47% higher chance of dying from colorectal cancer than a white man (World Journal of Gastroenterology). Earlier screening (age 45) is strongly recommended so the disease can be prevented through a colonoscopy procedure and or caught at earlier stages, increasing the success of treatment. An understanding of family history is also important, as it may indicate the need for a different screening timeline.

All these statistics are alarming, especially if you find yourself falling into one of these categories.

Regardless of your age or genetics, it is important that you are aware of early warning signs and are paying attention to how your body feels. Some of the most common early symptoms for colorectal cancer are:

  • Bloody or dark stool
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you think that you, or someone you know, may be experiencing some of these early warning signs, it is important to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable, and early detection is the key!

MNGI Digestive Health is the smartest choice in digestive care. Call us at (612) 871-1145 or request an appointment online.