Intermountain Health’s “Let’s Get to the Bottom of Colon Cancer” Giant Inflatable Colon Community Tour Expands in 2024 to Promote Colon Screenings and Raise Awareness

Intermountain Health is doubling its efforts in a unique community colorectal cancer public awareness campaign called, “Let’s Get to the Bottom of Colon Cancer.”  
Intermountain has two giant inflatable colons – nicknamed “Colin” and “Collette” – along with numerous cancer experts that will travel to 23 hospitals, clinics, and community centers in Utah and Idaho in 29 days in March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. 
The objective of the campaign is to bring critical awareness about colon cancer and the importance of potentially life-saving screenings in a fun, visual, and hands-on manner.
The Intermountain “Let’s Get to the Bottom of Colon Cancer” inflatable colon tour stopped today at Intermountain Alta View Hospital in Sandy.
This is the second year for this unique public awareness tour, which is an interactive opportunity for the public to walk through 12-foot, 113-pound inflatable colons, which depict different stages of colorectal cancer, starting with the earliest stage of a precancerous colon polyp.
The two giant inflatable colons will be crisscrossing Utah and Idaho for various events throughout the month.
“This tour is an opportunity to spread awareness across our communities to help our patients and their families learn about the importance of knowing their colon cancer risk and then moving forward with completing the best screening test for them, said Nathan Merriman, MD, medical director of gastroenterology and digestive health at Intermountain Health. “Colon cancer is preventable, treatable, beatable. In fact, colon cancer has a 90% survival rate when its detected early.”
The American Cancer Society estimates more than 53,000 Americans will die from colon cancer in 2024, making it the second leading cause of all cancer-related deaths in the United States.
“One alarming trend is the incidence rate of colorectal cancer continues to rise each year in people under the age of 55,” said Kyle Eliason, MD, gastroenterologist and director of endoscopy for Intermountain Health. “Young people are also often diagnosed with more advanced cancers due to delays in detection, driving home the point that prevention is the best strategy to beat cancer.”
In fact, according to the American College of Gastroenterology, people born around 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer as those born around 1958, hence the reason for the recommended screening age for colonoscopy screening being dropped to age 45.
Dr. Merriman stresses that the goal is to get the public to take control of their health and better understand that individual risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, inherited genetic disorders, or certain lifestyle choices may increase the likelihood that a person will develop colon cancer.
The only way to detect colon cancer it is through screening. People with an average risk of colon cancer should start their screenings at age 45.
Mark Seguin, 38, of Sandy, knows first-hand the importance of early screening, watching for symptoms, and being in tune with your body. 
Just three years ago, Seguin was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer after experiencing cramping on his right side that he first thought was appendicitis.
A colonoscopy discovered a three-centimeter tumor. Seguin underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor and almost 24 inches of his colon and then followed up with three months of aggressive chemotherapy. 
He’s now considered cancer free and is on the one screening per year plan.
“I did all the genetic testing, and it came up negative - my surgeon told me I simply won the bad luck lottery,” said Seguin. “But I am lucky to be alive thanks to not only me speaking up with my symptoms, but also a care team who listened and acted quickly to get me into a treatment plan.”
Dr. Merriman says what he did next is critical. Even though he didn’t have any genetic markers, Seguin told his family. Seguin’s sister then got her colonoscopy where pre-cancerous colon polyps were removed. 
A colonoscopy, which is an examination of the inside of your colon, is the most effective method of screening for colon cancer, precancerous growths, and polyps. If an abnormal mass or polyp is identified during the outpatient procedure, the physician will identify the best course of treatment, which may include removing it during the procedure. 
“Finding and removing precancerous growths during a colonoscopy can prevent cancer from developing,” said Dr. Merriman. “Delays in screening could lead to a delayed cancer diagnosis. A screening can really save a life and protect a family. We need everyone’s help to work together to prevent colon cancer across our communities.”
The inflatable colon will be at Intermountain Park City Hospital on March 11 and Intermountain Heber Valley Hospital on March 12 and then will continue to travel to hospitals in Utah and Idaho throughout March.  
For the full inflatable colon tour, click here.
For more information on colonoscopies, click here.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos available upon request.


“Colin” and “Collette” -- two giant inflatible colons -- will travel to 23 hospitals, clinics, and community centers in Utah and Idaho in 29 days in March.