ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Have you ever wondered what a 20 foot long colon looks like? Between 9 a.m and 1 p.m. Tuesday, Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea put an inflatable one on display.
It's in honor of National colorectal cancer awareness month, an effort to help educate people and reduce some of the fear that is associated with getting screened for colorectal cancer.
The inflatable colon shows some of the things that doctors typically see during a colonoscopy, such as a normal looking colon and polyps, which may indicate cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, affecting 1 in 20 people.
Eating a healthy diet with adequate fiber is a good way to protect your colon.
"Avoiding some of the things that we know in our lifestyle that are colon cancer risks such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, being overweight, not exercising," said Dr. Darin Passer, a general surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea/Austin. "And even diets that are very heavy in red meats is also thought to be a cancer risk."
Experts recommend starting to get colonoscopies between the ages of 45 and 50.