IU Simon Cancer Center brings Colossal Colon to state fair; breast, prostate studies also underway at fair


INDIANAPOLIS -- (Aug. 4, 2008) – You can crawl through a 40-foot-long, 4-foot-tall oversized model of the human colon during the Indiana State Fair.

The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, in partnership with Clarian Health, is hosting the Colossal Colon® in the Clarian Healthy Lifestyles Pavilion, located on the southwest corner of the fairgrounds, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 6-17. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

“Coco,” as the Colossal Colon is affectionately known, is designed to educate about colorectal cancer and other diseases of the colon. Visitors who crawl through Coco will see Crohn's disease, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, cancerous and non-cancerous polyps, and various stages of colon cancer.

Coco includes examples of healthy colon tissue, several non-cancerous diseases of the colon, polyps, and various stages of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in America. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 108,070 new cases of colon cancer and 40,740 new cases of rectal cancer in 2008. Combined, they will cause about 49,960 deaths.

Also during the fair, men and women can help IU Simon Cancer Center researchers unlock the mysteries of breast and prostate cancers by providing a blood sample for two studies.

Men can give a blood sample from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 6-17 for a study called PROGRESS (PROstate Cancer – Genetic Risk Evaluation of SNPs Study), which seeks to identify genetic risk factors that contribute to the development of prostate cancer and response to therapy.

Meanwhile, representatives with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center will collect blood samples from women from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 8 and 9.

By collecting blood from women with and without breast cancer, researchers will be able to determine the differences between these populations, which could lead to a better understanding of the disease. Blood samples taken from women without the disease are especially helpful because there are few collections of so-called "normal" specimens. The bank will ultimately give researchers valuable and unprecedented research data.

The blood collections take place in the Clarian Healthy Lifestyles Pavilion. Participants for each study will need to complete a questionnaire containing basic questions and a consent form.


About the Colossal Colon®

The Colossal Colon® 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® is a project of The Colon Club and is dedicated to the memory of Molly’s friend, Amanda Sherwood Roberts, who lost her battle with colon cancer at age 27. The Colossal Colon® 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 www.ibdride.com. The Colossal Colon® was designed and built by Adirondack Scenic, Inc., a custom design and fabrication company. For more information about Molly or about the Colossal Colon®, please visit www.ColossalColon.com.