The loss of Chadwick Boseman and the loss of beloved Detroit radio personality Jamie Samuelsen need to serve as reminders that more can be done to influence men and women to get screened for colorectal cancer earlier than age 50.
Current Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines –
“Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. The Task Force recommends that adults age 76 to 85 ask their doctor if they should be screened.” – per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SOURCE)
We know that colon cancer is treatable if you catch it early enough. Age 50, or age 45, or even age 40 might not be soon enough. Guidelines need to be reevaluated when it comes to colon cancer screenings and changes need to be made from the top (the CDC), all the way down to your personal care physician.
My friend, Jamie Samuelsen, was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 46. When he was diagnosed, he was already at Stage IV. He passed away 19 months after his diagnosis. He fought a brave, private battle in which he sought out various doctors and travelled around the country seeking various treatment options. It was too late. But it doesn’t have to be too late for you or someone you love.
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in 2016 at age 40… and passed away in 2020 at age 43.
Age 40 (or even earlier) needs to become the new 50 when it comes to colon cancer screenings in men AND women.
An “early 40s” friend of mine went for his annual physical recently. He told me he proactively inquired about a colonoscopy and his doctor asked him if he had any symptoms or if his father had it. When he told the doctor no (to both), the doctor fluffed the conversation off by telling my friend “probably doesn’t need one (a screening) then”.
In addition to the change in guidelines, a personal change must occur. People need to realize that as patients, patients are customers to their family doctor… and the customer is always right. Men and women have every right to request a script for colonoscopy, regardless of age, even if the doctor deems “you probably don’t need one”.
“Most insurance plans and Medicare help pay for colorectal cancer screening for people who are 50 years old or older. Colorectal cancer screening tests may be covered by your health insurance policy without a deductible or co-pay.” – per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SOURCE)
This needs to change to 40 years old… and even earlier for people with a family history of colon cancer.
“It would make me feel great if people were to go out and schedule colonoscopies today, or tomorrow or the next day and just line them up and get them done,” he said. “It will be such a burden off your shoulders to know you’ve done everything you can. It’s not just about you. It’s about your wife, it’s about your family, it’s about your husband. And this is not just a male disease. Colon cancers tend to be attributed to more men than women, but it’s one of the leading causes of death in women, as well. It’s a really scary thing, but it is preventable as long as you catch it quickly.” – Jamie Samuelsen 7/27/20 – (SOURCE)
PICTURED (l to r) – Christy McDonald, Caroline, Catherine, Josh, and Jamie Samuelsen
For more info on colon cancer awareness, please visit www.ccalliance.org and consider making a donation in my friend Jamie’s honor.