NewsMagic Valley


Intermountain Health hosts colon cancer awareness event with 12-foot 113-pound inflatable colon

Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 29, 2023

BURLEY, Idaho — Intermountain Health hosted a “Let’s Get to the Bottom of Colon Cancer” event featuring a 12-foot 113-pound inflatable colon.

The bounce-house-like body part is name Collin and is used to help get the conversation going on colon health and the preventable side of colon cancer. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. after lung cancer.

“It’s important to help patients and families feel comfortable speaking up to each other about it, and also speaking up to their physician and clinician teammates,” said Nathan Merriman, Gastroenterology and Digestive Health medical director at Intermountain Health.

The display showcases what healthy colon tissues look like and shows the progressive stages of colon cancer growing on the organ. This year over 52,000 people are estimated to die due to colon cancer, which is a very treatable form of the disease.

“If you can get that conversation going early and intervene before it has a chance to happen, those lives are saved,” said Aaron Guercio, General Surgeon at Intermountain Health.

Most forms of colon cancer take years to develop, and a simple colonoscopy check can help doctors catch colon cancer long before it becomes fatal. Geri Alejandro is a patient at Intermountain Health whose mother passed from colon cancer and says death is easily preventable when detected early.

“Unfortunately, in the end, what took her life was colon cancer and as a family member, it was so painful to watch someone die of that. It truly was,” she said.

Alejandro now advocates for everyone to get regular colonoscopies to avoid future bowel health issues.

To learn more about Intermountain Health's gastroenterology services, click here.