Time for a colonoscopy? Huntsville Hospital educates people on colorectal cancer

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — While it’s a subject many avoid, a team from Huntsville Hospital Healthworks are working to educate people about colorectal cancer.

A giant, inflatable diorama, lovingly called Colleen the Rollin’ Colon, stopped in downtown Huntsville on Thursday. The model is an educational tool, giving people and up-close look inside a healthy colon and one needing treatment.

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“She kind of takes that stigma away from the talking points of colorectal cancer and the screening process,” said Heather Whorton, the Huntsville Hospital Healthworks and Corporate Wellness Director.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women are at risk of developing colorectal cancer during their lives. Colonoscopies can reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer and reveal a lot about someone’s colon health.

During a screening, doctors will look for polyps, which are usually harmless but can develop into colon cancer. Usually, a doctor can remove those polyps during the colonoscopy.

Getting screened is important because people often overlook the symptoms of colorectal cancer.

“A lot of times you don’t know, so when you get screened, if the doctor sees polyps, they can take them off before you start having symptoms and then prevent that colon cancer from developing,” Whorton said.

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Doctors are seeing colorectal cancer appear in younger patients, according to the American Cancer Society. Doctors recommend most people begin getting colonoscopies at the age of 45.

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when you may need a preventative screening.

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