National Cancer Prevention Month is taking on unique significance for NBC News’ Craig Melvin and his family. The Weekend Today co-host, national correspondent and MSNBC anchor revealed that his 39-year-old brother, Lawrence Meadows, has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
“My brother decided he wanted to use his cancer diagnosis to raise awareness about the prevalence of early onset colon cancer in young African-American men,” Melvin told TVNewser. “He hoped just one person would see or read his story and think, ‘I have a family history. Maybe I should get checked out.’ He wanted us to use our platform to do some good. If you knew my brother, you wouldn’t be surprised. He’s man of great faith and generosity.”
As part of the Today show’s War on Cancer series, the brothers spoke about the diagnosis, and the prognosis, in a story this morning.
“When I received the call a few months ago, it nearly knocked me off of my feet,” Melvin said. Meadows’s oncologist is predicting a +50 percent increase in early onset cases over the next 15 years, particularly among men under 45, and has noticed African-Americans are twice as likely develop early onset colon cancer as whites — though experts can’t seem to figure out why. But they are recommending men related to someone who has colon cancer get a colonoscopy by the time they are 29.
Unaware of this fact until recently, Melvin, who is 37, has scheduled a colonoscopy.