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Nebraska Cancer Coalition brings inflatable lung to HHD

Expand your lung health knowledge by immersing yourself in this large display.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

September 13, 2023

2 Min Read
 inflatable lung
BREATHE DEEP: This inflatable lung may take your breath away the first time you see it. The Nebraska Cancer Coalition and its partners want farmers, ranchers and their families to focus on lung and overall health by offering education and screening opportunities.Photo by Nebraska Cancer Coalition

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Nebraska, according to Laura Schabloske, interim executive director of the Nebraska Cancer Coalition. To draw attention to the need for screening and prevention, NC2 is bringing a 12-foot-tall inflatable lung to Husker Harvest Days.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Mega Lung to Husker Harvest Days with the help of our partners, including Genentech,” says Dr. Allen Thorson, Nebraska Cancer Coalition board president. “Come walk through the lungs and learn more about cancer screening and prevention.”

Medical Inflatables’ Mega Lung is the world’s only inflatable pair of lungs, showing the inner workings of the respiratory system’s most critical organ. Visitors can enter the 20-by-12-foot display to learn more about maintaining lung health.

This is the first appearance by NC2 at Husker Harvest Days. Schabloske says its staff hopes to bring attention to various types of cancer prevention and screenings, including lung cancer.

NC2’s vision is to “Conquer Cancer Together” by connecting people and resources to strengthen cancer prevention, detection and quality of life in Nebraska.

Health education for masses

“There are many oncology deserts in our state where you have to drive many miles to receive care,” Schabloske says. “That’s why this exhibit at Husker Harvest Days is so important. We are bringing awareness and education to farmers and ranchers.”

The exhibit at Lot 549 will include information on cancer screenings and prevention for breast, colorectal and skin cancer, as well as help with ending tobacco use.

NC2 is joined by:

  • University of Nebraska Medical Center and UN-Kearney

  • American Cancer Society

  • Mary Lanning Healthcare

  • CHI Health Grand Island

  • Genentech

  • Nebraska Cancer Specialists

  • Exact Science

Focus on individual care

“Farmers and ranchers must be willing to take care of their health, just like they care of their fields or livestock,” Schabloske says. “It’s just like doing a maintenance check on machinery every year. You must do the same thing for your own body. It will increase the likelihood of survival with early detection.”

NC2 is a nonprofit that delivers education and awareness to all 93 counties in the state by working with clinical providers, public health and community-based organizations, and residents directly through events like HHD.

The ultimate goal is to put information into the hands of Nebraskans on oncology prevention, screening and survivorship.

“Our farmers and ranchers are incredibly important to this state,” she says. “They need to take time for their own self-care. Just like they make sure the crops are nourished and animals are fed, they need to nourish their own health care through screenings.”

Cancer by the numbers

Here are statistics on cancer in Nebraska:

  • 1 in 3 people diagnosed in their lifetime

  • 11,530 diagnosed this year

  • 3,540 estimated to die in 2023

Source: American Cancer Society

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Rural Health

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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