A look inside Mayo Clinic's gigantic colon – it's for cancer awareness

About 4.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester invited people to look around inside a giant colon this week.

Don't worry, it wasn't a real colon. It was an inflatable one set up for Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Mayo called the event the Strollin' Colon, because that's how it worked – people strolled through a massive colon. The organ is also known as the large intestine. It connects the small intestine to the rectum, and is part of the body's digestive process.

The colon tunnel was open to the public Thursday. It described the different stages of colon cancer and how they affect people. There were other exhibits along with it that gave more information on how to prevent cancer.

You can see more photos here.

About colon cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the fourth-most common type of cancer. About 134,500 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with it last year. About 50,000 people died.

The institute says about 4.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime.

On average, a person diagnosed with colon cancer has a 65 percent chance of surviving at least five years. But it really depends what stage the cancer is at when diagnosed. If you catch it when it's localized to just one area, that jumps to 90 percent.

Rising in millennials

While colorectal cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people in their late 60s an 70s, it's rising in millennials.

A study found that between the 1980s and 2013, colon cancer rates increased about 1 to 2 percent each year for people in their 20s and 30s. The rates for middle-aged people also went up, but not quite as fast.

To prevent the disease, the American Cancer Society generally recommends people start getting regular colonoscopies – an examination of the colon – starting at age 50. However, if your family has a history of colon cancer, talk to your doctor because you might need to start sooner.

For more information on things that increase your risks, click here.

Next Up

minneapolis police

Reuters report claims MPD has engaged in 'pullback' since George Floyd's murder

The report has put the department in the spotlight once again.

Foreman tl - Flug-Presley tr - Sturm bl - Pettus br - Go Fund Me and Facebook

Mystery surrounds discovery of 4 MN friends found dead in SUV

Here's what is known about the case so far — and what questions remains.

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 9.21.25 AM

Mpls. school moves to virtual learning due to homeless encampment on grounds

The Volunteers of America School says some students will work remotely, while others work at alternative sites.

storm, severe weather

Severe weather Thursday: Here's what the NWS is saying

If storms can get going during daylight hours, they might be nasty.

John Thompson

Rep. John Thompson to serve as independent after ousting by House DFL

Thompson has been involved in multiple controversies following a July 4 traffic stop.


Chisholm school sends some grades home due to COVID-19 outbreak

Elementary students at Vaughan-Steffensrud are subject to the outbreak.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins needs to let it fly against the Cardinals

An aggressive approach could ensure a win in the desert.

Minneapolis police

Shooting Wednesday marks 7th homicide in 7 days in Minneapolis

The latest shooting happened just before noon Wednesday.


Pedestrian, 34, dies after being struck by semi-trailer on Hwy. 12

The State Patrol says the pedestrian was standing in the lane when he was struck by the semi.

Charpenter injury ATV Go Fund Me

ATV rider nearly killed after being impaled in neck by large stick

The stick was 1.5 inches in diameter and went 6-7 inches into his body.


Sheriff's office dons hot pink badges for breast cancer awareness

The Meeker County Sheriff's Office is wearing pink badges for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Mayo Clinic will prioritize privately insured patients over Medicare/Medicaid patients

The hospital says it's not unique to the Mayo Clinic, but it's not usually talked about.

Good news, golfers: A day on the course is actually really good for you

Having trouble getting all your steps in? You might want to pick up golf