Inside your backside: Giant inflatable colon helps demystify colon cancer

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Inside your backside: Giant inflatable colon helps demystify colon cancer

Hundreds were welcomed to explore a nearly 13-meter long inflatable colon – complete with unhealthy polyps and lesions – on Saturday in Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve near Montreal.

The colon, which was outside of the Knights of Columbus Club, is on tour with the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Organizers say the giant inflatable section of the digestive system is a way to bring awareness to colon cancer.

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada and it is a growing problem with young people.

Frank Pitman is a colon cancer survivor and a volunteer with the association.

"There is a certain wow factor about the giant colon and that's why it's such a great awareness tool," he said.

"We try to make this a bit fun for everybody because it is still taboo. Anything below the waist is taboo, so people are talking about it more."

From young to old, everyone interested in colon

Pitman said people love the giant colon, but most importantly, they learn from it. 

The association encourages people to get screened because the cancer is preventable and if caught in the early stages, treatable.

"It's a cancer that can be cured," said Pitman, who was diagnosed with colon cancer 10 years ago. "We have to get that word out."

Candida Rice, a Kahnawake nurse, arranged to have the colon come to the club as an educational activity and thought it was the perfect way to teach the community about the disease.

"As Indigenous people, we are visual people and we are aural people," she said.

Rice said once word spread that the colon would be making a stop in town, all age groups, from young children to community elders, were curious about visiting. 

"You don't usually get that many people to come to a health fair." 

Poop toss a hit

It wasn't all about the giant colon, though.

A variety of booths were on display, including the "poop toss", where people could throw bean bags shaped as poop into toilet bowl holes for points. 

The real purpose of the booth was to teach people about the effect alcohol can have on your body.

"At the end, when they start asking questions, that's when the real learning experience happens," said Pitman.