Admit it. You want to run under this inflatable colon. Photo courtesy Colon Cancer Coalition.
Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to run through a giant colon?
On Feb. 27, participants in the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk will trot through a giant, Pepto-Bismol pink inflatable arch complete with veins and funky little bumps, which we can only assume represent cancerous growths.
But there’s a reason behind this madness. The Colon Cancer Coalition wants to make the words colon, colorectal and colonoscopy — and giant inflatable colons, presumably — part of our everyday language. That, they say, will make us less squeamish about colon cancer itself, encourage us to get early screenings and, ultimately, decrease the number of deaths due to this largely preventable cancer.
An estimated 600 runners will participate in the Austin race, which starts with guest speakers at 8 a.m., followed by a Kids K a few minutes later, and the 5K at 8:30 a.m. Money raised at the event will benefit the CareBox Program, which provides essential care supplies to cancer patients at no cost. It will also help fund a grant to provide screenings for uninsured Central Texans at high risk for colon cancer.
Think it won’t matter to you? One in 20 Americans is diagnosed with colon cancer in his or her lifetime, and numbers are on the rise, according to the Journal of American Medical Association. The organization estimates a 90 percent jump in colon cancer and a 124 percent increase in rectal cancer in young people by 2030.
Early detection is key to beating the disease, but Texas ranks poorly when it comes to screenings. Only 60 percent of Texans get screened, putting us in 41st place in the country. A colonoscopy can detect and remove colon polyps before they become cancer, preventing the disease from occurring.
Nine out of 10 patients survive five or more years when colon cancer is caught in early, but only one in 10 lives that long when the disease is diagnosed in late stages. Right now, 60 percent of patients nationwide are diagnosed with late stage disease.
To register for the run, go to coloncancercoalition.org/portfolio/get-your-rear-in-gear-austin-tx/. Race day registration is also available at Camp Mabry.