Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a disease that can be prevented through early detection. Through the use of effective educational tools, individuals can become better informed about CRC and understand the importance of screening and early detection. The walk through Inflatable Colon is an innovative educational resource developed to engage and educate communities on CRC and the importance of receiving screening at the appropriate ages.
Methods: The Inflatable Colon Assessment Survey (ICAS) assessed knowledge and behavioral intentions to obtain screening and promote CRC awareness. New Mexico State University faculty, staff, and students completed a consent form, took the pre-ICAS, toured the Inflatable Colon, and completed the post-ICAS. The majority of participants (92%) were young adults, mostly college students, under the age of 30 yrs.
Results: Overall, participants demonstrated increases in CRC knowledge and awareness after touring the inflatable colon (p-values < 0.001). Interestingly, both males and Hispanics had lower CRC awareness at pre-test, but exhibited maximum awareness gains equal to that of females and non Hispanic Whites after touring the IC. Behavioral intentions to obtain CRC screening in the future and to promote CRC awareness also increased (p-value < 0.001). Gender differences in behavioral intentions to act as advocators for CRC education were found (p < 0.05), with females being more likely to educate others about CRC than males.
Conclusion: Educational efforts conducted in early adulthood may serve to promote healthier lifestyles (e.g., physical activity, healthy nutrition, screening). These educated young adults may also serve to disseminate CRC information to high-risk friends and relatives. The walk through Inflatable Colon can increase CRC knowledge and intentions to get screened among a young and diverse population.