A Cedar Rapids hospital is setting up a 20-foot long, eight-foot high replica of a human colon to call attention to the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.
Colon cancer is the number-two cancer killer in Iowa, behind only lung cancer.
Chuck Reed, spokesman for the American Cancer Society’s Des Moines chapter, says this is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. “It’s a big month for us as we’re trying to create awareness,” Reed says.
“We want people to know about what they can do to avoid getting colon cancer. It has one of our best screenings. The colonoscopy is kind of the gold standard for cancer screenings.”
Officials with Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids say the “Rollin’ Colon” display is like a long, pink tunnel.
It’s big enough to walk through and it’s designed to educate people about the risks, symptoms, prevention, early detection and treatment options for colorectal cancer. Reed urges people at a certain age and above to schedule a colonoscopy.
“Get it at 50 if you haven’t had one yet,” Reed says. “It’s one of the few screenings for cancer where, if indeed cancer is found, a small polyp is found, they remove it. So, not only does it dedect the cancer, it also removes it.” Reed says there are steps you can take every day to stay well.
“Your diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption,” Reed says. “All of those things we try to tell people to do to avoid getting cancer certainly apply for colon cancer.” It’s estimated colon cancer will claim 600 lives in Iowa this year.
One new tactic the American Cancer Society is using to get out the word about screenings this month is to advertise on drink coasters. Learn more at: www.cancer.org.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City