'Nolan the Colon' raises awareness about colon cancer

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Arizona is kicking off National Colon Cancer Awareness Month with a visual aid that's sure to make an impact.

On Thursday's Good Morning Arizona, Javier Soto toured "Nolan the Colon," a giant, inflatable, mega-colon, which measures 20 feet long and 12 feet high. 

The message behind the giant prop? Get screened. One in 20 Arizonans will be diagnosed with this disease. 50 is about the age to get your colonoscopy, unless you have a family history. If you do, get your screening earlier.

"Nolan the Colon" will be making an appearance at The Arizona Science Centers Adults' Night Out on Friday, March 7, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

It is also "Dress in Blue" day to help raise awareness. "We are  going to be dressing in blue and we are asking people to please talk about colon cancer," says Terri Baack of the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Colorectal cancer is the number two cancer killer right behind lung cancer. 970 Arizonans die every year from colorectal cancer.

"I was diagnosed and I was already at a Stage Four," says Baack. "I had very few symptoms. Had I gone in for a screening, there was a very good chance they could have gotten it in advance. When they caught it, it had already gone to my lungs, and subsequently to my brain and my bones."

Colon cancer doesn't just strike men. "This is an equal-opportunity disease," she says. "It strikes men, women; all ethnicities."

The Arizona Chapter of the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) is hosting a Free Colon Cancer Patient and Survivor Symposium on March 22, 2014, from 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. It will take place at the Courtyard Marriott Scottsdale Salt River, at 5201 North Pima Road  in Scottsdale. Seating is limited for this free event. Registration is required. To RSVP, please contact 602-359-5995 or email centralazcca@gmail.com. Continental breakfast is  included.

This free Symposium is designed to provide patients and survivors with state-of-the-art advances in colorectal cancer treatment, medical therapies and survivorship that they "need to know." Expert multidisciplinary speakers in the fields of colorectal cancer will offer presentations on Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine, Gastrointestinal Oncology, Interventional Radiology, Nutrition and Wellness, and Having a Positive Outcome Following a Cancer Diagnosis.

Presenters will then be on hand to discuss and field questions from the attendees on the latest in medical therapies, treatments, and lifestyle changes for people affected by colorectal cancer.

If you want more information on Nolan the Colon, visit his Facebook Page.

To learn more about the Colon Cancer Alliance, visit www.ccalliance.org. You can also call 602- 359-5995, or the toll-free hotline at 1-877-422-2030.