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Thursday 1 December 2022
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Why Were NY Doctors Renting Giant Inflatable Colons in March?

inflatable colon This March, doctors all over the country marked National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and giant inflatable colons have been going up at fundraisers and educational events. Yes, each year gastroenterologists around the country rent inflatable colons to help spread awareness of this disease, the second leading cause of cancer death.

Clearly, the movement to stop colon cancer lacks the brand awareness and celebrity support of diseases like breast cancer, but New York state doctors are trying to spread the message any way they can. Because the risk of colorectal tumors increases with age, most people are advised to receive a colonoscopy around the age of 50. It’s a painless procedure that saves lives, but many patients avoid scheduling an appointment.

“They fear the procedure or the diagnosis, they don’t believe they are at risk or don’t think they can afford it,” Dr. Brett Ruffo, director of colorectal surgical services with Peconic Bay Medical Center, told The Suffolk Times.

To address many patients’ concerns with the anal procedure, medical researchers have developed alternatives to colonoscopies, like the capsule colonoscopy. In this procedure, patients swallow a tiny camera that takes 30,000 pictures as it passes through the large intestine. And increasingly, some patients are opting for CT scans, which combine thousands of 2D X-rays into a digital 3D model.

“There’s no anesthesia involved and it literally takes about 30 seconds to do the imaging,” said Dr. Ali. “The disadvantage is not all insurance carriers cover it; it can miss small polyps; and, because it’s a [CT scan], you’re being exposed to radiation.”

The main drawbacks to capsule colonoscopies and CT scanning are their higher costs, as most insurance carriers won’t cover these procedures.

Even so, gastroenterologists here in the upstate area are joining with their colleagues around the country to encourage people to get screened for colon cancer. It could literally save your life, as colon cancers are easily treated if detected early enough.