By Frances Wang

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The passing of ‘Black Panther’ actor Chadwick Boseman shocked the entertainment world and has brought increased awareness to colon cancer.

Studies show people are getting diagnosed at younger ages than 50, which is the original screening age.

Colon cancer is actually the 3rd most common cancer diagnoses in both men and women in the US.

Dr. Sarah Joseph, medical oncologist at the Miami Cancer Institute says, “With the passing of this Hollywood star, it really left me with looking at him as a role model to bring awareness to colorectal cancer.”

Dr. Joseph says screening is geared toward those who are 50 years and older and while statistics show colon cancer in that age group is going down, it’s because of increased screenings, or colonoscopies.

“The incidents in the age group, less than age 50, increased about 13 percent in general.”

According to doctor Joseph, non-genetic risk factors include obesity, smoking, eating too much processed foods and red meats. There are also many genetic factors we should look at.

“The biggest thing to look at is genetic predisposing conditions. If we look at the incidents in a younger age group, the biggest tell tale sign is speaking to ur family. Talking to your family getting that history.”

Dr. Joseph says this is a reminder for all of us to not be afraid to go to the hospitals to get the screenings we might need. She emphasizes that hospitals are following social distancing rules, PPEs, and cleaning protocols.

Frances Wang