News & Politics

You’ll Soon Be Able to Walk Through a Giant Colon at McPherson Square

Yes, you read that right.

Just look at that polyp-filled bad boy | Courtesy of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance

No, it’s not a hoax, or a joke, or a really weak metaphor for the current political climate. There will literally be a giant colon at McPherson Square on Friday, March 6 between 12 and 2 PM, courtesy of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, and the Alliance is bringing out the 10-foot-tall, 20-foot-long, inflatable large intestine to emphasize the importance of screenings. Though colon cancer is 90 percent treatable when caught early, many people avoid regular colonoscopies out of fear.

“It’s a misperception,” says spokesperson Maurisa Potts. “I’ve had two, and it’s a breeze. The prep’s not fun, but it’s not this scary thing that people think it is.”

In other words, walking through the Alliance’s giant colon could be more frightening than the screening itself.

Lunchtime passersby will have the opportunity to stroll through the veiny monstrosity to learn how to spot the signs of colon cancer. The interior of the tract will have sections showing healthy colon lining, benign polyps, and cancerous polyps.

“We want to put [the colon] front and center like we do with other cancers like breast cancer,” says Potts. “We want folks to be comfortable talking about their bottom like they are talking about their breasts…You’ll be amazed what [people don’t know about the colon.] Some people don’t know what it is or even where it is.”

For those wondering, the colon forms the majority of the large intestine, connecting the small intestine to the rectum. It’s responsible for peristalsis: a process that removes leftover food, bacteria, and waste from the body. I.e. it makes poop.

Here’s to hoping the Alliance’s colon smells more like the incoming cherry blossoms.


Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.