In his tribute to Chadwick Boseman, Kevin Hart wrote on Instagram, f**k 2020. 2020 has taken the greatest amongst us. In January, it was Kobe Bryant. On a personal level, my friend lost her mum on Tuesday. She spoke to her mum on the phone on Monday night and by the end of the day on Tuesday, her mum had passed. It is painful. I cry with her every day.
I know the pain.
Chadwick Boseman’s death hit most us in a kind of delicate way. We were feeling vulnerable somehow because of the pandemic and because our children are going back to school on Tuesday.
We feel vulnerable in our own ways.
I am not sure why I am feeling vulnerable but when I got the notification on my phone that the Black Panther superhero – Chadwick Boseman- had battled colon cancer since 2016 and he had passed, my tummy hurt and my heart broke.
Chadwick Boseman’s work in Black Panther shot him to global superstardom. He showed us that black people could star in blockbuster movies as superheroes. The film broke literally every record under the universe amassing $1.3 billion in box-office sales.
He was diagnosed in 2016 with stage 3 colon cancer, he did not make this public knowledge because he didn’t want sympathy. In that strength, he immortalised himself giving us some of his best work. He gave us 5 Bloods, 21 Bridges, Civil War, Endgame, Thurgood Marshall and Black Panther.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is a type of gastrointestinal cancer that can affect the final part of the digestive tract, the large intestine. In some cases, it can be referred to as colorectal cancer because the rectum is also affected. In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third most common and third most common cause of cancer-related mortality in men and women.
Colon cancer typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age. It usually begins as small, non-cancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time, this polyps can become colon cancers. Polyps may be small and produce few if any symptoms. It is for this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they turn to cancer.
How do I know?
Signs and symptoms include a persistent change in your bowel habits including diarrhoea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, a feeling that your bowel does not empty completely, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss.
It is generally advised to visit your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
- Older age – Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age but a majority of people with colon cancer care older than 50.
- African American race: African Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than people of other races.
- Family history of colon cancer: Some gene mutations passed through generations of your family can increase your chances of developing cancer.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions: Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes or insulin resistance have an increased risk of colon cancer.
- Obesity: People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying of colon cancer when compared with people considered normal weight.
- Alcohol: Heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer.
My friend continues to grieve for her mother. I, on the other hand, I am in mourning. Life is just too short. Chadwick died at 43. The time to live is now. Not tomorrow or next week, but right now. It seems to no man is longevity promised. We must get on with the business of being productive with our time here on earth.
The noble King of Wakanda, T’Challa inspired the world with his humility and stirring performances. He will be remembered as the black actor who empowered black people globally to believe that we can be our own superhero.
Wakanda Forever, Rest In Peace Chadwick Boseman (1977 -2020).
*The Mayo Clinic provided the information used in this piece.