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Local Healthcare Organizations Partner to Bring Colossal Colon(R) Educational Exhibit to Detroit Science Center, March 13 - 18, for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

DETROIT, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Colorectal cancer (cancer that begins either in the colon or rectum) is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 148,810 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2008, with about 5,150 cases appearing in Michigan. Nationally, approximately 49,960 people died from colorectal cancer last year alone.


In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (March 2009), the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Network of Southeast Michigan (CRAN) has teamed up with several metro Detroit healthcare providers, including the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, to bring the Colossal Colon(R) to the Detroit Science Center.

The Colossal Colon(R) is a 40-foot long, 4-foot tall oversized model of the human colon designed to educate people about colorectal cancer and other diseases of the colon. Visitors can crawl through the Colossal Colon(R) to see examples of cancerous and non-cancerous polyps, various stages of colorectal cancer, Crohn's disease, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis and hemorrhoids.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic digestive disorders known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Over 1.4 million people are affected by IBD, with 10 percent of those people under the age of 18.

Colorectal cancer is often preventable with screening and early-detection. Screenings will often detect polyps, a pre-cancerous growth that can lead to colorectal cancer. When polyps are detected, they can be removed before they become cancerous. Although screening for colon cancer often begins at age 50, colon cancer and other diseases of the colon can start much earlier. That was the case for Patricia Ann Kraus of Wayne, Michigan.

Kraus, now 45, was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago. She had a tumor that blocked nearly 100 percent of her colon. Kraus was treated and had life-saving minimally invasive surgery at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute resulting in a total abdominal colectomy, removing five feet of her colon. She never needed a colostomy bag.

Kraus has a family history of colon cancer. Her mother died at age 46 from the disease, as did her grandmother at age 32, her great grandmother at age 28, and most recently her sister at age 44. All of them had Lynch Syndrome, a rare inherited condition that increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Lynch syndrome also causes colon cancer to occur at an earlier age.

"The hardest thing about colon cancer was seeing the people I love hurting -- those who were diagnosed with the disease and others who watched me and other loved ones suffer with it," said Kraus.

Kraus was the first women on her mom's side of the family to see her grandchildren born. She has four beautiful grandchildren, all under the age of three.

"I have a future, thanks to the wonderful care and ground-breaking treatment I received at the Karmanos Cancer Institute," said Kraus. "I am so grateful that I'm here to hug my children and grandchildren. Everyone should be this fortunate."

Kraus added, "No one is immune from this disease. We need to do everything we can to raise the awareness of colorectal health, including encouraging proper screenings and healthy eating habits to help save lives."

WHAT: The Colossal Colon(R)

WHERE: Detroit Science Center

5020 John R. Street, Detroit

WHEN: March 13 -18 Best day for media will be Friday, March 13.

Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

WHY: To help raise awareness about the importance of colon health and early detection to prevent colorectal cancer and other related diseases.

COST: General Admission is $7.95 for adults; and $6.95 for children and seniors. In celebration of Senior Week at the Detroit Science Center, from March 16 - 18 people age 60 and older will receive free general admission with a valid I.D.

For more information about the Colossal Colon(R) event in Detroit, visit or call 248-663-3434.

The Colossal Colon(R) is the creation of Molly McMaster, a colon cancer survivor who was diagnosed on her 23rd birthday, with help and support from Glens Falls Hospital in Glens Falls, NY. The Colossal Colon(R) is a project of The Colon Club and is dedicated to the memory of Amanda Sherwood Roberts, who lost her battle with colon cancer at age 27. The Colossal Colon(R) is sponsored nationally by Get Your Guts in Gear -- The Ride for Crohn's & Colitis (GYGIG). GYGIG creates and produces 3-day, 210-mile bicycle rides to raise awareness about Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and the needs of people living with ostomies. For more information about GYGIG, please visit The Colossal Colon(R) was designed and built by Adirondack Scenic, Inc., a custom design and fabrication company. For more information about the Colossal Colon(R), please visit

SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute
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