In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Josephine Ford Cancer Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, will display a 32-foot-long by 14-foot-high inflatable replica of the human colon on March 10. The inflatable colon shows healthy and unhealthy polyps and explains diseases.
Over 136,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. It is the second most common type of cancer and one of the most preventable. Early detection and treatment can dramatically increase survival rates. There has been a significant decline in colon cancer rates in the past 15 years due to colonoscopy screenings becoming more commonly performed.
Ninety percent of colon cancer cases occur in people over 50. Doctors encourage anyone over the age of 50 and those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors to have a colonoscopy. If a polyp is found, it can be removed before it becomes cancerous.
The event’s organizers hope that by walking through the inflatable colon, people will better understand the colonoscopy process and the importance of early detection and treatment. They hope that visitors will be less afraid of the procedure after walking through the inflatable colon.
A 2013 study funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control concluded that similar inflatable colon exhibits improved the public’s knowledge of colon cancer and interest in screening.
The hospital will also host a panel discussion about colon health and answer questions about health, prevention, screening, and treatment.
A team from Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) opened an inflatable hospital in Tacloban, one of the cities in the Philippines that was hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan in early November. The hospital was erected in late November to provide medical services to the thousands of people who are struggling in the aftermath of the storm’s destruction.
The inflatable hospital was developed specifically to respond to natural disasters. It was used previously after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The hospital consists of four inflatable 100-square-meter (900-square-foot) tents and a fifth tent with an area of 45 square meters (405 square feet). It was set up on the grounds of the Bethany Hospital, which was seriously damaged by Haiyan. Setting up the hospital was challenging because the group’s volunteers has to clear the area outside the hospital and put up the inflatable rooms at night in the pouring rain.
The inflatable hospital includes an emergency room, a wound care room, a pharmacy, and up to 45 beds. It is equipped to provide in-patient and out-patient consultations and surgery. Additional care will be available once repairs have been made to Bethany Hospital’s surgical and maternity wards, neo-natal unit, and equipment sterilization unit.
Doctors Without Borders’ medical team in the inflatable hospital will assist the few other hospitals in Tacloban that are still operating and take on some of the work done by the first teams of rescuers, who are beginning to leave the area. They expect that most of the patients they will be treating from now on will have common diseases or conditions related to lack of access to medical care.