The Tragic Death of Chadwick Boseman Reminds Us All of the Importance of Colorectal Cancer Screenings

As we mourn the passing of Chadwick Boseman, Alameda Health System (AHS) encourages our patients and the community we serve to get screened early.  Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers if detected early.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States for men and women combined, with African Americans having the highest rates of colon cancer occurrence and deaths in the United States. ACS recommends that everyone begin getting screenings at age 45. Early detection and treatment reduce the rate of death from colon cancer.

One of AHS’s biggest champions for early screening is AHS’s Dr. Deborah Ellis, System Director of Infection Prevention and Control previously shared her story and struggle with colorectal cancer.

Dr. Deborah Ellis is taking a pound of cure these days, because she delayed the ounce of prevention longer than she should have.

As previously posted:

Despite general medical advice to get screened for colorectal cancer after 50 years of age, Ellis, System Director of Infection Prevention and Control, put it off. No family history of cancer and being in otherwise good health, she wasn’t worried. Until she was.

After an eventual screening and colonoscopy, Ellis was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Her pound of cure was surgery and chemotherapy. She has her good days and bad. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster.”

Nearly 50,000 Americans will die each year from colorectal cancer (CRC), the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, despite it being one of the most preventable cancers if detected early.

Over the past 8 years Alameda Health System (AHS) has nearly tripled the rate of patients screened for CRC and greatly increasing the likelihood of detecting and removing polyps that can become cancerous.

An early fecal immunochemical test (FIT) or a Cologuard sample would have been the ounce of prevention. “That old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” she said. “Which is what I’m going through now. A pound of cure.”

Ellis is on her way to recovery following surgery and chemotherapy. On this journey she has become an advocate.

“I am a champion for screening. When you are told by your physician to get screened, get it done. Make no excuses. Do it. It might save your life! Even if your physician has not advised you, it’s a best practice recommendation to get screened when you turn 50. Just get it done!