On September 29, the Prevent Cancer Super Colon™ made its way to Nationals Park for the annual Prevent Cancer 5k/Walk Run. 450 runners and walkers stepped through the Prevent Cancer Super Colon, exploring (and sometimes yanking at) various colon disorders. It was the making of nightmares for one little girl whose father had to drag her in (“This is for your health!”), but most visitors left knowledgeable albeit slightly horrified. Eighty-six percent of the visitors surveyed said that they were more likely to talk to their doctors about colorectal cancer screening after visiting the Prevent Cancer Super Colon.
This was my first experience with the Prevent Cancer Super Colon. Former Prevent Cancer Super Colon Queen Cheryssa Jensen eagerly passed down the crown and her wisdom about pulling people into the exhibit, answering questions (sometimes bordering on the bizarre) and emphasizing the need to know one’s family medical history. I must admit that I was a little nervous about staffing the Prevent Cancer Super Colon. I have a background in theater, but these aren’t the kinds of lines that I’m used to memorizing. I was also worried that my knowledge of colorectal cancer prevention would fall short. Luckily, I discovered that I knew more than I thought I did! With the help of a truly superb volunteer, I felt right at home in “my new colon.”
An eight-foot high, twenty foot long giant inflatable colon is probably the weirdest thing that I can think of. But that is exactly the point! People come to the exhibit because they think that it’s funny. Five minutes inside and they know that it’s not so funny. Folks, I’ve seen the light. The Prevent Cancer Super Colon is a wacky laugh-inducing display, but it brings attention to an important issue: 140,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year. 50,000 people will die from the disease even though colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. Sometimes it takes a giant colon to wake you up.