As I sit and write this, I’ve not long read the news that Chadwick Boseman, best known as Black Panther but also played prominent black figures Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown, has passed away at the age of 42 from Colon Cancer. Through his work in the MCU he managed to bring a huge amount of positivity to the lives of many black people, young and old, who were very vocal in praising the representation that movie gave.
I can’t speak on that personally, as a white British male, but I can see this one man made in portraying significant cultural icons for black communities.
The news on the morning of Saturday 29 August 2020 has genuinely moved me, because this man, fought bravely against this disease whilst working his arse off to bring positivity to other peoples lives. The news saddens me because it brings up all the emotions I’ve felt since my partner was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2018 and how Chadwick’s family will never feel that sense of relief when the Doctor tells you that they think you’ve beaten it. My partner will never, officially, be in remission, the rare type of Breast Cancer she had means they can’t give her that news, they can only tell her that the cells they could see have gone, so we live on that knife edge every single day. If she’s feeling more and more tired, for example, there’s that constant worry that its not just the drain of every day life taking its toll, or her battle to recover to a level where she can do the things she wants to do, but that that bastard, Cancer, has returned.
It’s also affected me because whilst my partner was fighting her fight, my Dad had a couple of scares, he thought he had prostate cancer, but that was a cyst, likewise he had some trouble with his jaw and they had to shave some bone off there to remove some troublesome cells, they tested them afterwards and, again, it wasn’t cancer, but all of these stories show the importance of getting checked.
The Cancer that took Chadwick Boseman’s life happens to be the fourth most common type of Cancer in the UK and the second biggest killer (after Lung Cancer), just look at this from bowelcanceruk.org:
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer.
Over 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.
Around 268,000 people living in the UK today have been diagnosed with bowel cancer.
More than nine out of ten new cases (94%) are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases (59%) are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over. But bowel cancer can affect anyone of any age. More than 2,500 new cases are diagnosed each year in people under the age of 50.
1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.
So please, if you have any concerns, speak to your GP, but don’t just take their first response for an answer. It took my partner multiple assessments and three months before she was listened to, she knew what she was experiencing wasn’t right, that it wasn’t just an infection, that it wasn’t just a cyst, listen to that voice in your head, get as many additional opinions as you need, because its just not worth the risk. I’ve included links to the symptoms for the four most common killers below, please read through them, and please, please, speak to your GP if you have any concerns.
And please, consider giving to Cancer Research UK