‘Colin the Colon’ Tunnel Educates About Colorectal Cancer

As you know, I now live with my family in Johannesburg which is where I received all my treatment. I have been fortunate to have phenomenal South African medical professionals treating me. I want to pay back that kind by raising awareness about cancer in South Africa.  I am happy to say that I am collaborating with CANSA who have launched its Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign this month. Please keep reading to find out about this amazing campaign – raising awareness, educating and saving lives!


Afrikaanse Media Vrystelling

11 March 2020 – CANSA launches its Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign in partnership with Medtronic, the global leader in medical technology, as both organisations are passionate about early diagnosis and better treatment outcomes for patients. Unique to the campaign is a large ‘Colin the Colon Tunnel’, an inflatable 2x3m tunnel, which the public can walk through and be educated about colorectal cancer. ‘Colin’ moves around at specific CANSA events and can be booked by interested schools or workplaces and can also be activated at specific lifestyle events. The campaign includes a booklet and an animated video with information giving advice on lowering the risk of colorectal cancer and promoting screening.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in men (following prostate cancer) and the third most common cancer in women (following breast and cervical cancer). An estimated 6 927 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in South Africa in 2018 which was about 6.5% of all cancers (1). More men (7.3% of all cancers) than women (5.7% of all cancers) were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in this same year.

“The aim of the Medtronic and CANSA partnership aim is to provide Colorectal Cancer Awareness and education so patients can get treated at early stages and offered patient support through CANSA’s patient care and support programmes. Collaboration with CANSA multiplies our efforts and improves lives. Medtronic is dedicated to bringing comprehensive colorectal health awareness programmes to drive early diagnosis, improve treatment outcome and optimise cost of care to fulfil our mission to improve quality of life, alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life,” says Lungile Mvuyane, Market Development Manager Colorectal at Medtronic.

As part of the campaign, the booklet contains information concerning lifestyle factors that increase the risk for colorectal cancer, such as a lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking and regular alcohol consumption and provides information on how men and women are able to lower their risk. Research has shown that poor diet and physical inactivity, as well as smoking and the regular consumption of alcohol are key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

A colorectal specialist surgeon, Dr Zaheer Moolla (Netcare Umhlanga and Busamed Gateway) who saw the tunnel in action, says, “Colin the Colin Tunnel’ was really cool! Loved the pathology stuck on the bowel wall. I read through the pamphlet as well and I think its concise, simple and ideal for education. The video was excellent!”

Cara Noble, CANSA National Relationship Manager, Service Delivery explains, “This campaign aims to be an interactive and a visually compelling health experience. The idea is that people walk through the tunnel and see what a healthy colon looks like and get to know signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. We show what a polyp looks like with health messages on the inside of the tunnel. CANSA staff and volunteers are present near the tunnel to conduct body mass index (BMI – height and weight) and waist circumference measurements. We are also offering a CANSA Lifestyle Risk Assessment that can help identify areas of health risks that need to be addressed.”

CANSA further promotes awareness and early detection of colorectal cancer by offering ‘faecal occult at home’ testing kits available for purchase at CANSA Care Centres. It’s to determine if occult blood, which is not visibly apparent, is present in stools, which may be a sign of a growth, inflammation or bleeding in the digestive system. If there is blood in the stool you can take a photo of the test result and go to your nearest CANSA Care Centre for a referral.

Colin the Colon will be available for viewing by the public at the following upcoming events:

  • CANSA Relay For Life East London (14 March 2020 Jan Smuts Stadium 2 Graham Rd, Arcadia, East London, 5213 (Gavin Kester 083 321 3446)
  • CANSA Relay For Life Vredenburg (21 March 2020) Municipal Sports Ground Esperia St, Vredenburg, 7380 (Sr. Natalie Hendricks 082 660 2025). – EVENT CANCELLED due to COVID-19 restrictions.

#LowerCancerRisk #ColorectalCancer #ActiveBalancedLifestyle #CANSAscreening #CANSAcares


1. International Agency for Research on Cancer. South Africa Fact Sheet. 2018; Available from:


CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 12 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Queries CANSA

Visit or contact the nearest CANSA Care Centre, call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: In addition to online resources and Facebook support groups, CANSA offers multi-lingual support on WhatsApp: 072 197 9305 for English and Afrikaans and 071 867 3530 for Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Siswati. Follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA (, join CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa and follow CANSA on Instagram: @cancerassociationofsouthafrica and LinkedIn.