Chuck Smith’s Mission to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

When Charles “Chuck” Smith worked with the Men’s Health Project, he made a pact with his co-worker to get colorectal cancer screenings when they turned 50. This became an annual ritual for 13 years.

While Smith doesn’t have a family history of colorectal cancer, he wants to prevent it. His mission is to encourage others—particularly men and members of the Black and African American community—to do the same.

Smith has been involved in men’s health advocacy for years, often partnering with Multnomah County’s REACH program. He noticed a gap in health promotion for men and the Black community and began focusing on projects to promote cancer, diabetes and chronic disease prevention.

Then his dad began to have health problems. “I watched my father develop diabetes,” Smith said. “He worked on being healthier and eating better. He had to make big changes to his habits related to eating and exercise.”

Inspired by his father, Smith began his own health journey. He centered his personal and professional life on his martial arts practice, which helped him conceptualize health and well-being holistically. As the chief instructor of Portland Soo Bahk Do, Smith promotes this holistic health practice to his community.

Colorectal cancer eventually became a focal point of Smith’s work at the Men’s Health Project. They partnered with the Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance to teach men and others the importance of colorectal cancer screening starting at age 45.

If your family has a history of colorectal cancer, you should get screened even earlier.

Preventative Screenings Are Key

“Colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable,” Smith says. “We have the opportunity to keep ourselves healthy by getting colonoscopies and other screenings.”

Preventive screenings can help identify polyps or other irregularities in the colon, which could lead to cancer if left untreated. It’s tragic that many who are diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer don’t get screened until they notice symptoms. So, if you postponed screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to catch up!

Smith plans to keep up with yearly screenings and raising awareness about colorectal cancer. “Talk to your family and friends about colorectal cancer so that it is no longer a secret among us.”

Schedule a Screening Today

Talk to your doctor, or call us at 503-988-5558

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