The widow of Chadwick Boseman has warned young people that they are ‘vastly underestimating’ their risk of colon cancer — after losing her husband to the disease that is rising in young people.

Taylor Simone Ledward-Boseman urged those under 50 years old to be vigilant for symptoms such as changes in bowel movement and blood in stool — because the disease set to become the biggest killer in the age group by 2030.

Speaking at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, she also urged people to attend screenings — which are available to people in the US from the age of 45 years — saying the cancer was ‘treatable when detected early’.

It shocked the world when her husband Chadwick Boseman died from the disease in August 2020 at the age of 43 years after secretly battling the disease in private for four years.

Other high-profile cases include Broadway actor Quentin Lee, who died from the cancer in December 2022 at the age of 34 years.

Taylor Simone Ledward-Boseman is pictured above with Chadwick Boseman at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, in January 2019

Taylor Simone Ledward-Boseman is pictured above with Chadwick Boseman at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, in January 2019

She is pictured right at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, giving a keynote speech to raise awareness of the disease

She is pictured right at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, giving a keynote speech to raise awareness of the disease

Bowel cancer can cause you to have blood in your poo, a change in bowel habits, a lump inside your bowel which can cause an obstruction. Some people also suffer from weight loss as a result of these symptoms

Bowel cancer can cause you to have blood in your poo, a change in bowel habit, a lump inside your bowel which can cause an obstructions. Some people also suffer with weight loss a s a result of these symptoms

Speaking at the hospital — which has a unit dedicated to young patients with colon cancer — Ms Ledward-Boseman said: ‘Colon cancer is killing young people across the country, and most are vastly underestimating their risk.

‘I’ve seen how this disease moves and I know now how treatable it is when it’s detected early.

‘My personal advocacy stems from this understanding, and from the disappointment I feel in the lack of awareness in my community.’

She added: ‘We who have this knowledge have an obligation to inform our fellow man. Spreading awareness will save lives.’

She was the keynote speaker at the fifth annual patient and family forum at the hospital’s center for people with colon cancer.

Statistics show that colon cancer cases are expected to spike more than 140 percent among those under 50 years old by 2030, with about 27,000 patients expected to be diagnosed every year.

More than 4,000 colon cancer deaths are also expected to be recorded by this date, as the cancer becomes the biggest killer in the age group. Back in 1998, it was the fourth biggest.

Most of the patients are in their 40s, although cases are also being recorded more often in those in their 30s and as young as 21 years old.

Black adults are most at risk, with a 20 percent higher risk of the cancer than other ethnic groups and a 40 percent higher risk of death.

Data from JAMA Surgery, which Dr Lieu referenced in his presentation this weekend, showed that colon cancer is expected to rise by 90 percent in people ages 20 to 34

Data from JAMA Surgery, which Dr Lieu referenced in his presentation this weekend, showed that colon cancer is expected to rise by 90 percent in people ages 20 to 34

The same data shows that rectal cancer will rise by 124 percent in the youngest age group

The same data shows that rectal cancer will rise by 124 percent in the youngest age group

Colon cancer is such a big killer because its symptoms are often non-specific and missed in the early stages, meaning the disease is not diagnosed until the later stages when it has spread to other parts of the body and is harder to treat.

Chadwick Boseman, from South Carolina, was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016, with the cancer having spread through his colon and into his lymph nodes.

He spent four years battling the disease via repeated surgeries and chemotherapies, while also filming movies including Marvel’s Black Panther.

He died from the cancer after a four-year battle, with the revelation shocking the world — with the actor still appearing healthy. 

Colon cancer is a major killer because it is difficult to detect in the early stages, with symptoms such as change in bowel movement and blood in stool often missed by sufferers.

This means it is often not detected until it is more advanced and has spread to other areas of the body, making it harder to treat.

Data shows about 97 percent of patients survive more than five years after their diagnosis if the cancer is caught in the early stages.

But if it is not detected until the late stage, the survival rate drops as low as 14 percent. Nearly a quarter of patients are diagnosed at this stage.

Warning over the rise, Dr Kimmie Ng — an expert in the cancer at Dana-Farber — said: ‘The alarming rise in young-onset colorectal cancer underscores the urgent need for heightened awareness, early detection and comprehensive research to understand the underlying causes and develop effective prevention and treatment strategies.

‘Facing young-onset colorectal cancer requires not only resilience but also advocacy.

‘We are thankful to Simone Ledward-Boseman for bravely sharing her personal experience as a caretaker.

‘Her continued support for awareness-raising efforts honors the incredible legacy of her late husband, Chadwick Boseman.’

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