Students lead discussions with nearly 500 participants on colorectal health
MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University students and faculty partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Project (KCP) in hosting a health fair March 29 as part of National Colorectal Awareness Month.
Murray State University School of Nursing and Health Professions instructor Rachael Schmitz worked with NUR 307 (Nursing Care of Adults 1) students and the KCP in setting up the Incredible Colon, a 20-foot long and 10-foot tall replica of the human colon designed to educate the public about colorectal cancer.
“In previous semesters, NUR 307 Bachelor of Science in nursing students worked on individual cancer teaching projects,” Schmitz said. “This semester, after discussing cancer rates in Kentucky with KCP, Janece Everett of the KCP and I decided to orchestrate one large health fair and focus on one type of cancer screening. According to a recent New York Times article, we’re seeing colon cancer rates rise among young adults, and that’s a very troubling trend.
“Colon cancer, if caught early, is very amenable to treatment. My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 37, so this type of screening is personal and important to me. Colon cancer screening saves lives.”
Nursing students walked nearly 500 participants — including 100-plus Murray State faculty and staff — through the educational colon display set up at the Curris Center, demonstrating how to identify the stages of cancer while discussing risk factors and encouraging guests to undergo screenings. The students also led discussions on basic digestive health, offering take-home brochures to help keep the public informed.
“My experience working with the colon cancer awareness fair was extremely rewarding,” said student Hanna Berry of Marion, Kentucky. “I was so happy to see how many people came and were genuinely interested in learning more about health promotion both for themselves and for their families. Seeing the receptiveness and excitement the community showed in the event definitely fueled more of a passion in me for promoting health education.”
Photo: Murray State University students and faculty partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Project (KCP) last week in hosting a health fair as part of National Colorectal Awareness Month. Pictured are Murray State University School of Nursing and Health Professions students and faculty in front of the Incredible Colon, an educational tool used to demonstrate healthy and cancerous colon tissue.