Inflatable colon raises eyebrows, awareness in Biloxi

Inflatable colon raises eyebrows, awareness in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so what better way to bring attention to this disease then an inflatable colon?

It may sound amusing, but the staff at Merit Health wants the community to know that colorectal cancer is no laughing matter. The display mimics the inside of a colon and highlights the potentially deadly consequences the disease can cause.

Cancer of the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The exhibit raised awareness about the potentially deadly condition.

"I went to a routine colonoscopy, and they found a 3 x 6 centimeter tumor," said Linda Dawe, Gautier resident, stage 3 colorectal cancer survivor . She serves as the local ambassador for Fight CRC, a national organization determined to beat this disease.

Dawe was able to survive with the help of colorectal surgeon Dr. Jacob Tyler, who says the inflatable colon is sure to spark interest about these issues.

"This is at minimum, a conversation starter," Tyler said. "If we know this is up at, let's say, a Shuckers game, people are going to ask about this. If that gets one person to get their colonoscopy, we've done our job that day."

Tyler is one of only two colorectal surgeons in the State of Mississippi. His tool of the trade is the DaVinci XI robot. It gives Dr. Tyler and others to perform minimally invasive surgery.

"I track all of my outcomes for data, whether it's length of stay, patient pain, or infection rate," Tyler added. My best outcomes are with robotic surgery."

While technology and awareness are helping in the fight against colorectal cancer, Linda Dawe says the key to survival is early detection.

"This disease is preventable," Dawe added. "Get your colonoscopy, it's the best nap you'll ever have."

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