The much anticipated “Black Panther” sequel, “Wakanda Forever,” just hit theaters. However, fans felt a noticeable absence this time around.

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played the film’s star character as the Black Panther, died from colon cancer in 2020, leaving a whole in the hearts of so many people he inspired.

Now that Boseman has passed the torch to the new Black Panther on screen, it once again brings awareness to early colon screenings, and Dr. Ragavan Siddharthan, from Capital District Colon & Rectal Surgery Associates, is the star of this important topic. He is shedding light on just who colorectal cancer can affect.

“Colon and rectal cancer is probably the second most common cancer in the United States if you add men and women together,” said Dr. Siddharthan. “The problem we are seeing now in the last 20 years is that patients are getting colon cancer at a much earlier age. Usually it was unheard for someone to get colon cancer at the ages of 30 and 40 years old”.

Boseman was only 43-years-old when he passed away from colon cancer. That’s why new guidelines from the American Cancer Society say in some cases, screening at a much younger age could be lifesaving.

“Colon cancer is really important to catch early. Because if you have a stage 1 or stage 2 colon cancer typically all that needs to be done is surgery,” Dr. Siddharthan said.

The doctor adds another way to be proactive is to start with your family tree.

“Any relative you have that has colon cancer, you want to get a diagnoses 10 years prior to the age they were diagnosed,” Dr. Siddharthan said. “If we can stop it as a polyp, it will never form into a cancer.”

And new strategies in colorectal research are playing a big role in better treatment options.

“The thing that’s really happened in the last ten years is that we will discuss all these patients at a tumor board, and having everyone at the table discussing it has really shown some benefits for patients,” said Dr. Siddharthan.

So whether it’s an early cancer screening or the silver screens of Hollywood, Dr. Siddharthan, and Boseman’s legacy remind you to stay on top of your colon health.

You can learn more about cancer screenings by visiting American Cancer society’s webpage at or check with your primary health care provider.