Nolan the Colon travels with SEARHC to Prince of Wales

March 18 2014

PRINCE OF WALES – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is bringing Nolan the Colon to the POW/Craig Community Health Fair on Saturday, April 5.

Owned by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Cancer Program and the Alaska Colorectal Cancer Partnership, Nolan the Colon travels the state to educate people about colorectal cancer and the importance of getting screened. Nolan is an inflatable, interactive super colon, standing more than 10 feet tall and 25 feet long, designed to raise awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening. Nolan is large enough to walk through, so people are able see what a healthy colon looks like and see how precancerous polyps can grow to become colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) ranks among the leading causes of death for Alaska Natives, and Natives are twice as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer as non-Natives.

Colorectal cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent with a healthy lifestyle and appropriate screening. Colorectal cancer is usually found in people age 50 or older, but it may turn up in younger people as well. The risk for colorectal cancer is higher for people who are obese or consume diets with a lot of red meat or processed foods. Heavy alcohol use, tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke also may also increase one’s risk. The early stages of colorectal cancer have few symptoms, which makes screening extremely important. Precancerous polyps can be detected and removed during screening, before they become cancer. All adults age 50 or older and younger adults who have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or bowel diseases should talk with their medical provider about screening.

The POW/Craig Community Health Fair will be held at Craig High School on Saturday, April 5, and will run from 7:30am – 2:00pm.

Nolan the Colon will also be making his way to some of the local POW schools while he’s in town, so there will be additional opportunities to see the display and learn more about colorectal cancer prevention and screening.

For more information about colorectal cancer and the SEARHC Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, talk to your SEARHC medical provider or call Maria Eells at 966-8541.

photo of Nolan the Colon