Despite being the fourth most common form of cancer across the world, public awareness on colorectal cancer is much lower when compared to other cancers.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 04, 2019: Aster Hospitals Qusais, a world-class facility under Aster DM Healthcare, a leading healthcare provider in the Middle East and India, has launched a colorectal health awareness campaign with a complimentary preventive screening for colorectal cancer. The campaign targets residents aged above 30 years, as recent studies show that young people, aged below 40 years, in the UAE are more prone to colon cancer and the disease is more prevalent than in previous decades.
A team of expert colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists are leading the two-month-long campaign at Aster Hospital in Al Qusais.
Commenting on the campaign, Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO of Aster Hospitals UAE, said, “We are conducting the program to create awareness among the residents, especially people in the 40-45 age group who are susceptible to the serious lifestyle-induced colorectal cancer. Our objective is to bring about a change in public perception and detect such cases early so as to increase the chances of curing it. Colorectal cancer is on the rise among young residents in the UAE, compared to the prevalence of the disease in other parts of the world. Through this campaign, we would like to support the UAE’s national target to decrease the cancer mortality by 18 per cent by 2021.”
He urged the UAE residents to be alert of their colon health and opt for screening at an earlier age instead of delaying the precautionary tests. “We encourage the UAE residents to come forward and participate in this screening test program. Early detection is important as it can minimize an individual’s risk of developing colorectal cancer; and can be treated completely when found in early stages.”
Dr M. Khalid Mohiuddin, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Aster Hospital-Qusais, said that the awareness campaign will help people take preventive measures on a number of colorectal health issues. “Residents are requested to visit our facility in Al Qusais to drop off their sample. It is important to undergo screening as, often, hidden blood in a person’s stool can be the only sign of early cancer, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulosis or hemorrhoids. The complimentary preventive screening will be done through a simple FIT (Faecal Immunochemical test) stool test, which can identify any hidden human blood in stool.”
“The screening can detect cancer early and can be treated completely. Once the test results are available, the patient will receive an SMS alert and will get a chance to discuss their results with our experts and plan further management. If the test results are positive, the person will be scheduled for detailed examination with a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which will identify its cause and to be dealt by our expert team,” he added.
“Colorectal cancer usually starts from growth of benign polyps that can become cancerous over period of time. In the UAE, 30 per cent of all cancers are colorectal in origin. Warning signs of colorectal cancer include rectal bleeding, bloody stools, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and digestive complaints, or persistent changes in bathroom behavior.
Cases of rectal bleeding is very common in the UAE, although, only one third of those affected seek treatment. This happens due to other causes including hemorrhoids, fissure, fistula, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulosis and polyps. The cause for rectal bleeding can be serious, secondary to colorectal cancer. Symptoms develop very quickly, most of them can be treated but sometimes they go unnoticed. Hence, early detection is important as it can minimize a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer,” Dr M. Khalid elaborated.
Positive changes in lifestyle and food among young adults could help bring the number of cases down. Regular consumption of low fiber, high fat diets and red meat will lead to increasing incidence of colorectal cancer. People can reduce the risk if they maintain a healthy weight, get regular physical fitness activities, eat healthy food, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.