What you need to know about the cancer that killed Chadwick Boseman

U.S. & World
Chadwick Boseman

FILE – In this March 4, 2018 file photo, Chadwick Boseman arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer. His representative says Boseman died Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Los Angeles after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- On Friday, actor and ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

For FOX16 Anchor Donna Terrell in Little Rock, Arkansas, the battle against colon cancer is a battle she knows all too well.

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FOX16’s Donna Terrell and her daughter, Queah

Her daughter, Queah (pronounced Quaya), was first diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 27.

Donna was her daughter’s caregiver.

She had no known family history and was misdiagnosed twice before doctors discovered the late-stage tumor.

Once Queah learned about her diagnosis, she set out to educate others, especially young people.

Colon cancer cases among young people are on the rise.

In a 2017 study by the American Cancer Society, the death rate for colorectal cancer among adults between 20 and 54 has been increasing since the mid 2000’s.  

Why this is the case is still a mystery.

“There’s a lot of studies going on looking at the genetic changes that are happening that are causing this. I think before long we will have an answer,” says Dr. Jonathan Laryea with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

For younger people, doctors suggests if they have symptoms like rectal bleeding or any change in your bowel habits, losing weight, or have abdominal pain, see a doctor.

Know this: Colon cancer is not an automatic death sentence. 

“The earlier it’s detected, we know that it’s curable,” says Dr. Rhonda Gentry, an oncologist with CARTI. “Even if patients have the disease into their lymph nodes. For example, it’s stage III colon cancer, it’s still very curable with the addition of chemotherapy.”

The good news for survivors today is there are advancements in the way doctors treat the disease and new drugs.

The following could put you at high risk for the disease:

  • Family history (automatic high risk)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of Exercise
  • High consumption of processed foods and red meat

Gastroenterologist Dr. Brian McGee says if you’re 45 and over you should get a colonoscopy and definitely if you have symptoms or family history.

For more information about colon cancer, click here.

Queah had battled the disease and beat it.

Three and a half years later, it came back with a vengeance at stage IV.

On May 19, 2011, Queah lost her battle with colon cancer.

Donna continued her daughter’s mission to educate others by creating Yoga Warriors Fighting Colon Cancer.

The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization promotes the practice of yoga as a tool to help cancer survivors relieve stress and anxiety from the diagnosis and treatments and has made free classes available to survivors.   

Yoga Warriors also works to bring awareness of early detection for colon and other cancers. 

In addition, Yoga Warriors provides funds to support cancer-fighting tools and techniques.  

The organization also helps by providing nutritional supplements and pay for housing for cancer survivors in the Little Rock area for treatment at any of the area hospitals and treatment facilities.

To learn more about Yoga Warriors and how you can help, click here.

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