Beaumont’s inflatable colon display highlights Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

3/3/2014

What’s 12 feet high, 20 feet wide and 32 feet long? Display travels to Royal Oak and Troy

Because March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Beaumont Health System is stepping up its community awareness efforts. To kick off the month, area residents and community groups are invited to see a large, inflatable human colon on display in the South Tower of Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak from March 3 - 7 and the first floor Atrium at Beaumont Hospital, Troy from March 11 - 14.

Along with the display, information tables from Beaumont’s Digestive Health Center of Excellence, Beaumont’s Cancer Clinical Trials Office, the American Cancer Society and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America will be set up. The inflatable colon display can be viewed on those dates from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Explains Harry Wasvary, M.D., director, Colorectal Multidisciplinary Tumor Clinic, Beaumont, Royal Oak, “The giant colon is definitely unique. It grabs your attention. How often can people walk through a 32 foot long and 20 foot wide, inflatable colon complete with polyps? These are small growths or tumors within the colon that can enlarge and develop into colon cancers.”

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is one of only two cancers that can actually be prevented through screening. Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum.

Adds Dr. Wasvary, “A similar display was used last year and it was so popular, we purchased one for Beaumont Health System. This was made possible by a generous donation from one of our rectal cancer survivors. We hope this display not only educates, but encourages those over 50 years of age to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer. “

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year; and more than 50,000 of them die.

M. Emin Donat, M.D., chief, Gastroenterology at Beaumont, Troy, says, “If you are 50 or older, or have a family history of colon cancer, now is the time to talk to your family physician about a colonoscopy. This test saves lives.”

Colonoscopy is a common, diagnostic procedure that allows physicians to examine the entire length of the large intestine or colon. It can assist in identifying problems within the colon, such as early signs of colorectal cancer, inflamed tissue, ulcers and bleeding. An endoscope – a long, flexible, lighted tube, also called a colonoscope is used during the procedure. The scope can take tissue samples and remove abnormal growths known as polyps.

Alarmingly, colorectal cancer is often asymptomatic, meaning that individuals experience no noticeable symptoms.

Beaumont Health System’s multidisciplinary cancer and digestive health teams are comprised of highly-trained specialists using advanced technologies to screen, prevent, diagnose and treat colorectal cancer. The Beaumont Cancer Institute is one of only 49 Community Clinical Oncology Programs in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute to provide patients with access to leading-edge cancer clinical research trials. Beaumont has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 50 hospitals in the nation for gastroenterology, 17 of the past 19 years.