Just when you think you’ve seen it all … along comes a giant inflatable colon.
Ten feet tall. Ten feet long. Twelve feet wide. With polyps the size of beach balls.
What’s up with that?
“What better way to educate people about colon cancer screening,” said Citrine Health educator Anne Miles, purveyor of the giant colon. “It’s a really good visual, a good talking point for people.”
That is, unless they run the other way from the mammoth pink monster that resembles a strange creature from under the sea.
“Kids are fascinated by it. Kids drag parents,” Miles said. “The polyps are big and round and kids like to punch them.”
It is built like a big bouncy house. “That’s what kids think it is,” she said. “Then they say, ‘Oh, that’s not a bouncy house.’ They say, ‘What is that?’”
The shock is the draw.
As Miles explained, people go home and say, “Know what I saw? A giant colon.”
The response: “A what? Why was it there?”
It gets the conversation going.
“There’s been a big push to get people talking about colon cancer in recent years and to get people screened,” Miles said. “They can go in and take off polyps before it becomes cancer.”
Colon cancer is often treatable, if you get a jump on it. The disease, that is. The inflatable is not to jump on.
The problem is that colons have a huge eww factor. “It’s a body part people don’t like to talk about,” Miles said.
The large intestine stays hidden inside our bodies and looks rather slimy and scary in actual photos. The mere mention of the word colonoscopy makes people squirm.
Citrine Health paid several thousand dollars to own this inflatable that’s actually small compared to the supersized 30-foot colon Miles previously rented to take places. That’s right. There are many more giant colons out there. Health groups do this all over the planet. They take giant inflatable intestines to malls and schools. Start ‘em young to respect the sea monster that lurks inside us.
Google “inflatable colon” images and feast your eyes on some wild and funky blow-ups, complete with health professionals dressed up to match in polyp costumes.
Also available are giant inflatable hearts, lungs and brains. A supersized 50-foot full body inflatable bares internal anatomy from teeth-to-toe.
In addition to punchable polyps, other protruding highlights on the inflatable colon include Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, and advanced colon cancer.
It’s a pretty version. “The cancer would take up most of the colon and it would not be as flat,” Miles said.
Want to see the colon in the rubber flesh?
It will be at the Women’s Expo June 26 and 27 at Xfinity Arena in Everett.
Miles will have a booth inside the colon tunnel. No, she won’t be wearing a polyp costume, so you don’t have to worry about punching her by mistake.
Most of the time, the 123-pound colon is stored in a closet at her office at Citrine Health, 2940 W. Marine View Dr., Everett. It takes about 15 minutes to come to life — 10 minutes to unroll, 5 minutes to inflate by an electric blower that keeps running.
Miles is available to take the mighty colon to events that promote her agency’s breast, cervical and colon health program, which offers free services to people over 50 and uninsured.
Colon cancer screening is recommended for people starting at age 50 or earlier if there are warning signs or a family history.
The colossal colon is not available for 50th birthday parties.
At least, not yet.
For more information, call 425-259-9899 or 888-651-8931 or visit www.citrinehealth.org.
For more about colon cancer. go to www.colonstars.org or www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/screening.
— Andrea Brown (@reporterbrown) June 22, 2015