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We lost another wonderful person to cancer!

On August 28, 2020, the passing of Chadwick Boseman brought tears to my eyes as it so often does when I hear that cancer has taken another life. Once you have cancer, you immediately feel a connection to others that cancer has paid a visit to. It is a feeling that I can't explain. I wish I could. You just feel it deep down. In a way, It’s like the hurt you would feel for a sister or a brother because that is exactly what we are.

Cancer doesn’t care about race, gender, class, none of the things that divide us. Gilda Radner said it best, “Having cancer gave me a membership in an elite club I’d rather not belong to”.

Three things came to mind when I heard this terrible news.

1. I was very upset to hear that he was bullied and received terrible comments on a post because his appearance was visibly different. They had no idea what he was going through. As if watching his own appearance change was not enough. I would like to advise people to be more respectful and just keep their mouth shut especially when they don't know the facts! It is extremely hurtful to the person who is trying to make it from one day to the next. Just imagine how his loved ones felt reading those comments and watching him die every day right before their eyes. If you have not been through an experience like cancer you don’t know or truly understand the impact that it has on EVERY facet of one’s life.

Photo by Ocean Biggshott on Unsplash

2. I understand 110% why Chadwick chose to keep his health condition private. Maybe he didn't want to have cancer identify him. Maybe he didn't want people to feel sorry for him. Maybe he didn't want to burden others. Maybe he had a fear of judgment or didn’t want to have awkward conversations. Maybe it helped him to feel somewhat in control. Whatever his reasons were, he had that right! We don't get to choose how, when, and to whom someone shares their diagnosis. That was one of my biggest pet peeves! I felt like others did not have the right to inform others of my diagnosis. It was my right and MINE ONLY!

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

3. Based on the current CDC guidelines for colon cancer screenings, they suggest that screenings start at age 50. Some groups are recommended to start at age 45.1

Chadwick was diagnosed in his late 30's. More and more younger people are being diagnosed with colon cancer. I can't help but wonder if screenings were recommended at a younger age would it have helped to save his life.

Of all racial/ethnic groups, black patients are the most likely to be diagnosed with distant-stage colorectal cancer and have the lowest overall 5-year survival rate. These disparities are due to socioeconomic inequalities that result in differences in access to early detection and the receipt of timely, high-quality treatment.2

Cancer screenings, treatment, and overall care have come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to do! The work continues until there are a cure and a more widespread understanding of how cancer impacts ALL areas of one's life!

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

If you have received a cancer diagnosis and you would like personalized support, please schedule a FREE 1-on-1 call. I am happy to support you however I can. Please don’t face cancer alone!


Talaya Dendy The Cancer Doula


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