Actor Chadwick Boseman's death puts spotlight on early onset colon cancer

The Aug. 28 death of actor Chadwick Boseman, star of "Black Panther" and "42," surprised many after discovering that at only 43 years old, he had battled colon cancer for four years, CNN reports.

Early-onset CRC, any case that occurs in an individual under the age of 45, continues to confound researchers. Its cause is unknown, but the most recent research suggests heredity plays a role, according to recent research published in Cancer

CRC mortality and incidence rates have steadily decreased since 1992, according to Cancer.gov. It's estimated that 147,950 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer, and 53,200 people will die from the disease in 2020. In 2017, there were about 1.35 million people living with the disease, according to Cancer.gov.  

Professional societies continue to debate the proper age to begin screening patients for the disease. In 2018, the American Cancer Society recommended people begin screening at 45, but more recent updates suggest the screening age for low-risk individuals should remain at 50. 

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