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Raising awareness of colorectal cancer

July 23, 2011
By Stephen Anderson ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

BARAGA - Adults and kids from all around Baraga County attended the Cancer Awareness Carnival at the Niiwin Akeaa Center at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Friday afternoon to learn about preventing cancer.

The featured exhibit at the carnival was a 20-foot-long, 8-foot wide inflatable "Super Colon," an interactive tool from the Prevent Cancer Foundation that teaches colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable.

While walking through the exhibit, visitors could get a close-up view of healthy colon tissue, tissue with colorectal disease, colorectal polyps and various stages of colorectal cancer.

Article Photos

Daily Mining Gazette/Stephen Anderson
A 20-foot long “Super Colon” was featured at the Cancer Awareness Carnival at the Niiwin Akeaa Center at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Friday. The “Super Colon” is an interactive tool from the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

According to a Native American Cancer Research study, "the Northern Plains Region, which includes Michigan, suffers higher rates of death due to colon cancer compared to other Indian Health Services Regions in the country."

"Many tribal clinics are working to improve colorectal cancer screening rates among their patients," said Noel Pingatore from the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. "Patient reminder systems and the Giant Colon Exhibit are parts of these efforts."

"It's going well and everyone is interested in the Super Colon," said Heather Wood, one of the event organizers and a health promotion educator from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. "Hopefully the message is getting out there about cancer prevention."

Colorectal cancer is 90 percent preventable and 90 percent treatable if detected early, but it's still the second leading cancer killer in the United States.

The KBIC teamed up with the Inter-Tribal Council, whose grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health covered the colon exhibit cost, to put on the carnival from noon to 6 p.m. The Baraga County MSU Extension Program and Western Upper Peninsula Health Department contributed to the carnival as well.

"The colon and other our exhibits are really generating conversations with adults and children," Wood said.

Other exhibits taught attendees about breast cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer, among others. Kids in attendance all got to make hats at one booth, and play games at another, while adults were able to obtain information about cancer screenings. Refreshments, including sno-cones were available.

"The sno-cones are particularly popular on a hot day like today," said Wood, who noted the heat likely caused the slow start.

Several school groups helped fill the gymnasium about two hours into the carnival, including Great Explorations groups of 25 to 30 students each from Baraga, L'Anse and Chassell. In total, 197 people attended the carnival.



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