Inflatable colon set up to raise awareness about colon cancer

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Brea Swihart says, "This is a representation of cancer. It is common in both men and women. I believe it's the third leading cancer in both men and women."

Maine General Health in Augusta wants more people to get screened for colon cancer.

Elizabeth Bailey says, "Colonoscopy is certainly the gold standard because if they do have concerning polyps or other things we can address them and remove them at that time."

As part of a one-time exhibit, doctors were on hand to answer questions and lead people through a life-size colon.

Swihart says, "You can see some of the territory and some of the polyps which in some cases are pre-cancerous growth and as they revolve into cancers. The goal of colonoscopies is to remove those polyps before they have a chance to become cancerous. That's how we prevent colon cancer."

The giant inflatable colon shows what normal colon tissue is supposed to look like and then it shows the worst stage of colon cancer at the very end.

Gastroenterologists also gave advice on how to help reduce the risk of cancer.

Swihart says, "Diet that is low in animal fat, high in fiber is recommended. Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol use is also important is in decreasing the risk."

Folks were even able to sign up for colonoscopies at the event.

Bailey says, "Colon cancer is one of the top leading deaths in the United States and it is cancer we can prevent."