Spectrum News interviewed Ragavan Siddharthan, M.D., of Capital District Colon & Rectal Surgery Associates, for its story on colon cancer awareness following the 2020 death of ‘Black Panther’ actor Chadwick Boseman.
Boseman died of colon cancer at the age of 43.
Dr. Siddharthan discussed risk factors as well as the increase in the number of young people diagnosed with the disease.
From the story:
“Colon and rectal cancer is probably the second most common cancer in the United States if you add men and women together,” said Dr. Siddharthan. “The problem we are seeing now in the last 20 years is that patients are getting colon cancer at a much earlier age. Usually it was unheard for someone to get colon cancer at the ages of 30 and 40 years old”.
Boseman was only 43-years-old when he passed away from colon cancer. That’s why new guidelines from the American Cancer Society say in some cases, screening at a much younger age could be lifesaving.
“Colon cancer is really important to catch early. Because if you have a stage 1 or stage 2 colon cancer typically all that needs to be done is surgery,” Dr. Siddharthan said.
The doctor adds another way to be proactive is to start with your family tree.
“Any relative you have that has colon cancer, you want to get a diagnoses 10 years prior to the age they were diagnosed,” Dr. Siddharthan said. “If we can stop it as a polyp, it will never form into a cancer.”
And new strategies in colorectal research are playing a big role in better treatment options.
“The thing that’s really happened in the last ten years is that we will discuss all these patients at a tumor board, and having everyone at the table discussing it has really shown some benefits for patients,” said Dr. Siddharthan.
So whether it’s an early cancer screening or the silver screens of Hollywood, Dr. Siddharthan, and Boseman’s legacy remind you to stay on top of your colon health.
Click here to watch Spectrum’s report.