The Strollin' Colon Exhibit
Colon cancer is a significant problem in West Virginia. It is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Mountain State. In an effort to combat this disease in their community, Minnie Hamilton Health System’s Glenville Clinic hosted a special exhibit for the public to learn about the colon in recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Attendees were invited to take a stroll through a 10 foot by 12 foot inflatable colon. The structure shows what a healthy colon looks like as well as what it looks like when cancer is present.
Clinic staff led tours of the Strollin’ Colon, answered questions and gave out free fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits to eligible attendees. FIT kits are stool-based tests that provide a simple way to screen for colon cancer in the privacy of your own home.
Beverly Ford, Glenville Clinic Administrator, spoke passionately about the impact of the disease to exhibit attendees. Ford’s husband was diagnosed with colon cancer 2 years ago at age 62. “He was completely healthy. It was a huge shock.” Colon cancer did run in her husband’s family but he was active and had no symptoms. “A routine [stool-based test] came back positive and a colonoscopy confirmed the diagnosis. That [stool-based test] saved his life,” said Ford.
With this passion for the health of their patients, Glenville clinic staff promoted colon cancer screening using the Strollin’ Colon as a way to make an embarrassing topic more accessible and easier to talk about in the community. “I hope this event is meaningful to those who attended and the community overall. Maybe it can help save a life,” said Misty Arnold, Glenville Clinic Manager.
Minnie Hamilton Health System is a partner clinic with the West Virginia Program to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening (WV PICCS). WV PICCS is a new initiative directed through the division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the WVU Cancer Institute. The goal of WV PICCS, a CDC-funded program, is to partner with primary care centers across the state to implement proven strategies to increase colorectal (colon) cancer screening rates.