Remembering Charlie Brown cartoonist Charles Schulz, who died of colon cancer at 77

Charlie Brown Legacy Artist Charles Schulz

  • On February 12, 2000, cartoonist Charles Schulz died of colon cancer.
  • The 77-year-old artist retired just months before his death after decades of producing one of the most beloved comics of all time. Peanuts.
  • Current guidelines state that people between the ages of 45 and 75 who are at average risk for colon cancer should be screened for the disease every ten years.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang. Artist Charles Schulz, who died 22 years ago today of complications from colon cancer, is perhaps the most famous cartoonist of all time. Schulz’s love of cartooning and creating began shortly after his birth in Minnesota in 1922. He took his first cartoon class at the Federal School of Applied Cartooning (now Art Instruction Schools) as a as a high school student under the encouragement of his mother, who also tragically died of cancer when Schulz was a young man.

Cartoonist Charles Schultz surrounded by replica rubber dolls of characters from his 1966 comic strip ‘Peanuts’ (Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The journey towards the creation of what would eventually become Peanuts began in 1945, when Schultz began selling one-panel cartoons at Saturday night post and the production of a weekly comic strip, Li’l Folks, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, according to the Schulz Museum. These early caricatures contained drawings of big-headed children who seemed to speak and interact wisely well beyond their years – which may sound familiar to Peanuts Fans. The first one Peanuts the tape appeared in October 1950, according to Museum.

RELATED: Reducing Your Risk of Colon Cancer

By the time Schulz retired in December 1999, just months before he died of cancer, the Peanuts comic had been distributed in more than 2,600 newspapers around the world. He had book collections published in over 25 languages ​​and had received numerous accolades, from an Emmy Award to a NASA spacecraft named after his characters.

Colon cancer – What you need to know

Schulz died at age 77 from the disease, but it often affects people much younger. This is why current guidelines suggest that adults start screening for the disease much earlier – at age 45.

Colon cancer begins as a polyp, or small growth, in the colon. A polyp often has no symptoms, but it can develop into cancer. Routine colonoscopes screened for polyps and they can be removed before they have a chance to develop into cancer when detected early enough.

In a previous conversation with SurvivorNetDr. Heather Yeo, a colorectal cancer surgeon, stressed that it is important for everyone to be screened for colon cancer, regardless of family history. If you have a higher risk of contracting the disease, screening should start even earlier, Dr Yeo said.

Colon cancer experts explain screening guidelines.

“You should be screened for colon cancer, even if you don’t have a family history,” she explained. “Once you have your first screening colonoscopy, if there are no polyps and you don’t have high risk factors, usually [screening] once every 10 years is fine. Colon cancer is a slowly growing disease.

“If you have a family history of colon cancer,” she added, “you should get screened about 10 years before your family member got colon cancer. So if you have a family member who was 53, you should be screened at 43.”

Healthy people with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue to have regular colonoscopies until age 75. People over 75 can decide with their doctor whether or not to continue screening.

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

Charlie Brown Legacy Artist Charles Schulz

  • On February 12, 2000, cartoonist Charles Schulz died of colon cancer.
  • The 77-year-old artist retired just months before his death after decades of producing one of the most beloved comics of all time. Peanuts.
  • Current guidelines state that people between the ages of 45 and 75 who are at average risk for colon cancer should be screened for the disease every ten years.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang. Artist Charles Schulz, who died 22 years ago today of complications from colon cancer, is perhaps the most famous cartoonist of all time. Schulz’s love of cartooning and creating began shortly after his birth in Minnesota in 1922. He took his first cartoon class at the Federal School of Applied Cartooning (now Art Instruction Schools) as a as a high school student under the encouragement of his mother, who also tragically died of cancer when Schulz was a young man.

Cartoonist Charles Schultz surrounded by replica rubber dolls of characters from his 1966 comic strip ‘Peanuts’ (Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The journey towards the creation of what would eventually become Peanuts began in 1945, when Schultz began selling one-panel cartoons at Saturday night post and the production of a weekly comic strip, Li’l Folks, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, according to the Schulz Museum. These early caricatures contained drawings of big-headed children who seemed to speak and interact wisely well beyond their years – which may sound familiar to Peanuts Fans. The first one Peanuts the tape appeared in October 1950, according to Museum.

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RELATED: Reducing Your Risk of Colon Cancer

By the time Schulz retired in December 1999, just months before he died of cancer, the Peanuts comic had been distributed in more than 2,600 newspapers around the world. He had book collections published in over 25 languages ​​and had received numerous accolades, from an Emmy Award to a NASA spacecraft named after his characters.

Colon cancer – What you need to know

Schulz died at age 77 from the disease, but it often affects people much younger. This is why current guidelines suggest that adults start screening for the disease much earlier – at age 45.

Colon cancer begins as a polyp, or small growth, in the colon. A polyp often has no symptoms, but it can develop into cancer. Routine colonoscopes used to screen for polyps and they can be removed before they have a chance to develop into cancer when caught early enough.

In a previous conversation with SurvivorNetDr. Heather Yeo, a colorectal cancer surgeon, stressed that it is important for everyone to be screened for colon cancer, regardless of family history. If you have a higher risk of contracting the disease, screening should start even earlier, Dr Yeo said.

Colon cancer experts explain screening guidelines.

“You should be screened for colon cancer, even if you don’t have a family history,” she explained. “Once you have your first screening colonoscopy, if there are no polyps and you don’t have high risk factors, usually [screening] once every 10 years is fine. Colon cancer is a slowly growing disease.

“If you have a family history of colon cancer,” she added, “you should get screened about 10 years before your family member got colon cancer. So if you have a family member who was 53, you should be screened at 43.”

Healthy people with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue to have regular colonoscopies until age 75. People over 75 can decide with their doctor whether or not to continue screening.

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

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