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Chadwick Boseman and Colon Cancer

Dr. Glenn Mollette

Actor Chadwick Boseman recently died after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43. 

Boseman had starred in the blockbuster Marvel superhero franchise movie Black Panther rising to stardom. He played Jackie Robinson in the movie 42. He also played James Brown in Get on Up and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

Boseman had received international accolades for his movie roles. He was young, handsome, and very talented. He had a loving family who was by his Los Angeles bedside when he died. Colon cancer robbed him of another 20 or even 30 years of movie stardom. 

Boseman's early diagnosis of colon cancer at the age of 39 reminds us all of the seriousness of colon cancer. All cancer is serious but colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States when women and men's statistics are combined. 

Fifty was previously the recommended age for the first colonoscopy. Newer reports have recommended age 45. I would suggest talking to your doctor by the age of 40 about a colonoscopy. My doctor has been adamant that my sons have colonoscopies by the time they are 40.  There are more and more reports of early death from colon cancer. Television journalist Katie Couric's husband Jay Monahan died in 1998 at the age of 42 

Death comes to us all by something. However, a colonoscopy might extend your life several years. 

You may know someone who has been impacted by colon cancer. My father was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 60 but after a couple of very serious colon surgeries he survived to live to be 85 years old. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer and lost most of her colon in her early forties, but also lived to be 85. When I was 50, I had my first colonoscopy and had several polyps removed that were not cancerous. Most likely if I had not had routine colonoscopies along the way I would be dead today. 

While you are scheduling your colonoscopy eat plenty of fiber. When I was kid in health class, we were taught about the importance of eating fruit and vegetables. I can't underscore enough the importance of eating broccoli, lots of other vegetables, strawberries, oranges, apples and other fruit. A big bowl of plain oatmeal every morning and a handful of walnuts is another good choice. 

We would never pour a cup of sand in our automobile's gas tank. Yet, often we consume food choices that do not benefit us much and often hurt us. Good eating choices are vital.

There is no eternal fountain of youth in this world. However, I do hope we can live a lot of more good years and keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of numerous schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 12 books including Uncommon Sense. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.