Prisma Health colorectal surgeon Cedrek McFadden spoke to press Monday about colon cancer following the death of “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman.
Boseman, originally from Anderson, died from colon cancer last Friday at the age of 43, a notably young age to be diagnosed with the disease.
“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US,” McFadden said in a zoom call with media. “145,000 people are diagnosed each year with colorectal cancer, and another 50,000 will die from the disease each year. In South Carolina, that number is over 2,000, maybe 2,500, each year, will die from colorectal cancer.”
McFadden said colon cancer has had a trend in recent years of being diagnosed more in younger individuals.
Regular tests used to be recommended for adults starting at age 50, but that recommendation has dropped to begin at age 45 in recent years.
McFadden suggests that anyone depicting possible symptoms talk to their doctor, as colon cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented by detecting early signs through tests such as a colonoscopy.
“Colorectal cancer is preventable if caught soon enough,” McFadden said. “Get a colonoscopy, but also pay attention to the symptoms.”
McFadden continued that catching the disease very early has patients recovering with a 90-94 percent survival rate.
He also said that even catching the disease at late stages isn’t necessarily a “death sentence”, as up to 20 percent of stage four colorectal cancer patients may recover or still be alive more than five years after their diagnosis. Some clinical trials have even seen survival rates up to 40 percent.