In what seems like a bizarre move, someone has stolen a giant, inflatable colon from the University of Kansas Cancer Center, according to ABC 15. The colon weighs in at 150 pounds, is 10-feet-long, and is valued at $4,000. It was removed from the bed of a pickup truck parked in the Brookside area of Kansas City.
The giant colon belonged to the Cancer Coalition and was used as an educational tool to outline the risks of colon cancer to those looking to better understand the illness. John Ashcraft, a surgical oncologist, says colon cancer is a difficult discussion topic and having a huge pink inflatable colon serves as a great way to ease into the conversation.
“Colorectal cancer screening is the most powerful weapon we have against colorectal cancer,” he said. “Colon cancer is a tough subject for many to talk about and the giant, 150-pound, ten-foot-long inflatable colon is a great conversation starter.”
Reports say the colon was in Kansas City for a walk/run event scheduled for Saturday in Swope Park. The Cancer Coalition shipped the colon to offer those participating in the event an innovative way to learn about colon cancer and its progression, which could potentially save lives.
In a YouTube video posted by the university, doctors explain what the inside of a patient’s colon could look like at different stages of colon cancer. The video titled “Inflatable Colon Stolen!” can be viewed below.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 97,220 new cases of colon cancer and 43,030 new cases of rectal cancer in the U.S. this year alone. Forbes reports that “about 1 in 22 (4.49%) men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) women will end up developing colorectal cancer. An expected 50,630 men and women will die from colorectal cancer in 2018.”
Additionally, studies have shown that colorectal cancer rates are on the rise.
However, it’s not all grim. With early detection, the survival rate is dramatically increased. It’s recommended that one should start getting regular colon cancer screenings at the age of 45. These screenings should be on-going and continue until around age 75. Those who have a known family history with colon cancer or certain types of polyps, may want to begin screenings at an earlier age.
“The National Cancer Institute website shows, less than 70% of people are getting proper screening for colon cancer,” according to Forbes.
It’s for this reason that the university is urging anyone with information about the missing inflatable colon to contact the police.