By April Moss

(CBS DETROIT) – Friday’s death of Black Panther Actor Chadwick Boseman shocked the world. Even more surprising is his four-year long battle with colon cancer. Now doctors are taking this time to remind people, of the importance of colon screenings.

“If we find polyps that are the pre-cancerous polyps in your colon by checking for them and take them out, we can reduce your risk for getting and dyeing from Colon Cancer,” said Doctor Craig Reickert, division head of colon and rectal surgery Henry Ford Hospital.

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Reickert says, colon cancer is the third most common cancer, and affects men and women equally. He says doctors are advising people get a colonoscopy earlier than 50.

“There are certainly more common Cancers of the Colon and Rectum in younger people in the last 20 years than in historical data. So were worried about that group of people, so we moved the screening start date back to 45 for most people,” said Reickert.

He says anyone experiencing symptoms, such as bleeding, abdominal pain or change in the bowels should speak with a doctor. He says like with Chadwick Boseman, who sources say was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer four years ago, proper treatments can prolong survival.

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“In people with stage 3 cancer who are treated with the general treatment which includes surgery and chemotherapy we get about a 70-75 percent 5-year survival rate. It’s a very treatable disease, it’s not a death sentence just by getting it,” he said.

Doctors also say colon cancer in some cases is preventable, but it starts with getting screened.

“Everyone should get a Colonoscopy or something like it,” he said.

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