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Giant colon ready for loads of visitors

The Giant Colon tour is in Kahnawake today and tomorrow at the Knights of Columbus Hall. (Jessica Deer, The Eastern Door)

One’s colon isn’t a subject on many minds, but health officials at the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre (KMHC) are hoping to help change that.

Today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., the hospital will be hosting the Giant Colon Tour at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The 40-foot long and 8-foot high interactive installation is the latest initiative by the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada that features all of the pathologies that may be found inside the human colon, including colorectal cancer.

“It’s informative, it’s interactive. We encourage every age group to come through, we encourage our women to try to get our men out because men are less likely to follow up on symptoms,” said Candida Rice, the KMHC Cancer Support Nurse.

“The thing with colorectal cancer is that the earlier you catch something, the greater the cure rate. If you delay, delay, delay, then your risks get higher.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country. It is also the second leading cause of death from cancer in men and the third leading cause of death from cancer in women in Canada.

Most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over the age of 50, and the risk increases with age, while more men than women develop colorectal cancer.

“It’s really raising awareness about colorectal cancer,” said Rice of the installation. “It’s a part of our cancer screening awareness campaign that we do to educate people that it is very simple to do when you’re taking care of your health.”

Health officials recommend that if you are 50 to 74 years old and not at high risk for colorectal cancer, have a stool test every two years.

“The test that they used to do was very cumbersome, but they came out with a new test and it’s very simple – it’s one tiny little scoop of your poop,” said Rice.

“If you have someone close in your family like a sibling or a parent that has had it, then there is an earlier screening recommended for people in the family because you have a greater risk.”

The risk of the disease is also on the rise among younger generations.

“In the past year, the American Cancer Society did research and found that it is on the rise in younger people. People born from 1990 have twice the risk of getting colon of cancer now,” said Rice.

“They actually have four times the risk, so awareness is not just with the 50-plus group anymore. We need to start educating people on how to care for yourself and things to look out for because all cancer prevention is really the same. It’s all about our healthy lifestyles, moderation and minimal amounts of things like alcohol and tobacco.”

In addition to the giant colon exhibition, this weekend’s event will also include health screening and wellness tips from KMHC staff, the Kahnawake Youth Center, Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Program, KSCS, and the Kahnawake Environment Protection Office.

Tetewatia’takehnhahs Community Fundraising Group for Cancer survivors will be on site to sell food and drinks, including a Wahta Sugar Bush breakfast tomorrow morning.

At noon today, Geraldine Standup will lend her expertise on restoration of cultural teaching and spiritual values for health and wellbeing, while Gary Beauvais will share his experience with cancer and gardening tomorrow.

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