(WAVY) — In the movie, “Black Panther,” soon-to-be-King of Wakanda T’Challa accepts a life-or-death challenge from the strongest threat to his reign and life.
And, in the movie, “T-Challa” survives.
In reality, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman faced a life-or-death challenge from a foe he couldn’t see. One who snuck up on him from inside his body and defeated him four years later.
Colorectal cancer kills one in 41 Black males every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For white males, it’s one in 48.
You don’t have to be that one.
Riverside Health System is teaming up with the organization “100 Black Men of the Virginia Peninsula” to host a colon cancer webinar on Saturday.
Dr. Michael Ney, a gastroenterologist, and Alonzo Bell, Jr. president of 100 Black Men of the Virginia Peninsula, are co-hosts.
“The event is vital because knowledge is power,” said Ney. “Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and America and second-largest cause of cancer death, and preferentially affects African Americans.”
Ney says while it’s important for everybody to get screened, “it’s more important for African Americans to get screened.”
Bell agrees. And, although it’s a very personal topic — Boseman told only a handful of his closest associates — Bell touts the comfort of the virtual session.
“It’s a webinar so folks can join from the privacy of their own homes whether they’re on smartphones or computers after they register.”
So, we all agree we don’t want to get colon cancer. How do we know we might have it now?
“If you’re developing a change in your bowel habit, rectal bleeding of any kind, new abdominal pain, or your doctors told you you have [an] iron deficiency which is unexplained, those are concerning features and should prompt a visit to a gastroenterologist,” according to Ney.
So, when should you start getting checked? Certainly, now, if you have any of the signs. Boseman was at least 39 when he first reported the symptoms.
As for a common age, Bell says “It’s important that we begin getting checked at 45 at the absolute latest, and that’s males and females.
And the good news is, if it’s caught early, it’s 90 percent curable.”
Ney agrees. He’s also an easy guy to talk to about such a sensitive topic. You can talk to him Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon during the free webinar.
100blackmenva.org or call 757-726-7027.
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