LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (FOX16)- On Friday, ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
For FOX16 Anchor Donna Terrell in Little Rock, Arkansas, the battle against colon cancer is a battle she knows all too well.
Her daughter, Queah (pronounced Quaya), was first diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 27.
Donna was her daughter’s caregiver the last two years of her life.
Queah had no known family history and was misdiagnosed twice before doctors discovered the late-stage tumor.
Once she learned about her diagnosis, she set out to educate others, especially young people.
Colon cancer cases among young people are on the rise.
In a 2017 study by the American Cancer Society, the death rate for colorectal cancer among adults between 20 and 54 has been increasing since the mid 2000’s.
Why this is the case is still a mystery.
“There’s a lot of studies going on looking at the genetic changes that are happening that are causing this. I think before long we will have an answer,” says Dr. Jonathan Laryea with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
For younger people, doctors suggests if they have symptoms like rectal bleeding or any change in your bowel habits, losing weight, or have abdominal pain, see a doctor.
Know this: Colon cancer is not an automatic death sentence.
“The earlier it’s detected, we know that it’s curable,” says Dr. Rhonda Gentry, an oncologist with CARTI. “Even if patients have the disease into their lymph nodes. For example, it’s stage III colon cancer, it’s still very curable with the addition of chemotherapy.”
The good news for survivors today is there are advancements in the way doctors treat the disease and new drugs.
The following could put you at high risk for the disease:
- Family history (automatic high risk)
- Lack of Exercise
- High consumption of processed foods and red meat
Gastroenterologist Dr. Brian McGee says if you’re 45 and over you should get a colonoscopy and definitely if you have symptoms or family history.
For more information about colon cancer, click here.
Queah had battled the disease and beat it.
Three and a half years later, it came back with a vengeance at stage IV.
On May 19, 2011, Queah lost her battle with colon cancer.
Donna continued her daughter’s mission to educate others and raise money for colon cancer survivors by creating Donna Terrell’s Yoga Warriors Fighting Colon Cancer.
The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization promotes the practice of yoga as a tool to help cancer survivors relieve stress and anxiety from the diagnosis and treatments and has made free classes available to survivors.
Yoga Warriors also works to bring awareness of early detection for colon and other cancers.
In addition, Yoga Warriors provides funds to support cancer-fighting tools and techniques most recently giving a $48,000 grant to Baptist Health Hospital for the ErbeJet 2 which can remove colon cancer less invasively.
The organization has also helped by providing nutritional supplements and paying for housing for cancer survivors in town for treatment at any of the area hospitals and cancer treatment facilities.
To learn more about Yoga Warriors and how you can help, click here.