20-Foot inflatable colon visits Tripler Army Medical Center

By Bobby Bergonio

Patients and visitors came face-to-face with cancer at Tripler Army Medical Center today, walking through the ins and outs of a giant colon!

Within the 20-foot inflatable colon, doctors and nurses directed people inside to learn about what to look for in early colon cancer detection.

"We're really trying people to not be afraid to talk about cancer," said Dr. Patricia Nishimoto. "Because when you find it early, you can be cured."

The CDC estimates that if everyone over 50 years and older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer can be avoided. "My grandmother had colon cancer," said Dr. Nishimoto. "And when she first had symptoms, she went immediately, and it was able to be found early, and be cured."

Dr. Nishimoto and other doctors agree the best preventative measures for cancer is a healthy diet and exercise.

"We cannot emphasize enough, even those who are healthy, that we do not have enough fiber in our diet," said Lead Gastroenterology Nurse Jonathan Hawley-Molloy. "We need to push the high fiber in our diets, with those good healthy grains and vegetables."

According to the American Cancer Center, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

In America, 400,000 patients are diagnosed with a form of colon cancer each year.

Doctors hope this display can allow people to open up about cancer.

"It's not as embarrassing as people think," said Hawley-Molloy. "If we catch these things early, polyps or abnormalities, it can be treated early and prevent a lot of disease."

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