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Early diagnosis critical for colorectal cancer: experts

by Dubai Forum
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ABU DHABI, 21st March, 2022 (WAM) — Physicians from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have renewed calls for women and men in their 40s to book a screening for colorectal cancer, so that it can be detected, diagnosed, and treated when the disease is in its earliest form.

According to the World Health Organisation, colorectal cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in the UAE after breast cancer – it is the most common cancer in men, and third most common in women. Contributing factors to the disease include family history and lifestyle habits, such as eating too much meat and not enough fiber, obesity, smoking, and a lack of exercise.

The UAE is already ahead of other countries in tackling the disease and has recommended that regular screening starts at the age of 40, following an increase in cases among younger people.

Dr. Pascale Anglade, Staff Physician, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, explained that the move by the UAE is one of the best preventative measures a country can adopt, saying, “Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer – up to 90 percent of cases can be avoided with proper screening, which enables the warning signs to be spotted before the cancer even develops.”

“Early diagnosis is the name of the game, and whatever barriers we can remove to allow people to come and get screened, the more success we will have in treating this disease,” she added. “We have had multiple patients where a timely diagnosis has made a big difference in terms of life expectancy and the treatments that could be offered.”

Dr. Anglade has also been instrumental in encouraging more women to get screened by creating the ‘For Women, By Women’ service, which is managed by an all-female team to reduce the apprehension of attending a screening appointment.

“The ‘For Women, By Women’ all-female team of caregivers will assist female patients from the moment they register, through to endoscopy, the procedure room, and post-op recovery. It is a completely seamless experience and provides our female patients with comfort and peace of mind,” Dr. Anglade explained.

“Everybody comes in anxious, but at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi we have the right experts and support in place to ensure that patients have a comfortable and seamless experience from beginning to end,” she added.

Technological advances mean that a colonoscope, a long, thin, flexible instrument with a light and camera, can be inserted into the body so that the physician can view the colon on a screen and clearly observe any abnormalities. The same-day procedure, which takes about 30 minutes, is carried out in the outpatient clinic and is painless. If the physician identifies a polyp, the colonoscope can immediately remove the growth, eliminating the need for an additional procedure.

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