Inflatable colon takes visitors on educational journey

For the Troy Daily News

TROY — The team at the Cancer Care Center of Upper Valley Medical Center thinks an inflatable colon offering a larger-than-life look inside a vital organ can help spread the word about colorectal cancer and its prevention.

Within the 12-foot long, 12-foot high colorful tunnel people can walk from display to display about healthy tissue, polyps, malignant polyps, inflammatory bowel, and a cancerous mass.

The tunnel was purchased by the UVMC Foundation and the John J. Dugan Memorial Reception for Cancer annual event to support the Cancer Care Center.

“This will help us to more effectively educate our community and the surrounding areas,” said Caitlin Conaway, cancer coordinator, UVMC Cancer Care Center.

She said the tunnel is a way to help people participate in discussions about colon health.

“It has been such a difficult topic to engage people in, and I think this is a huge step in breaking that ice and providing meaningful education,” Conaway said.

Goals associated with the inflatable colon include making colorectal cancer a topic people will talk about openly, as they now do about breast cancer, said Jean Heath, a UVMC director of nursing who oversees cancer care.

“The more people we can educate, the better people will be and understand what colorectal cancer is and not to ignore the signs and symptoms. Early detection is most important,” Heath said.

To learn more, contact the UVMC Cancer Care Center at 440-4820 or