[Colon cancer is unlike many other forms of cancer because it can be completely symptomless. And it’s entirely preventable.]

As March is celebrated as the colon cancer awareness month, doctors are raising concern about the treacherous disease.

People in the UAE are suffering colorectal cancer almost 20 years earlier than in the West, Khaleej Times has learned.




According to the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, the youngest person to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2017 was just 16, while the oldest was 91. The median age at which people in the UAE are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is just 55 years while the age of diagnosis is 70 in the US.

As March is celebrated as the colon cancer awareness month, doctors are raising concern about the treacherous disease. Doctors said that while robust medical data explaining the reasons behind the lower age of the first diagnosis remain incomplete, lack of exercise, poor diet, and insufficient awareness about the disease are likely to be behind the findings.

“Colon cancer is unlike many other forms of cancer because it can be completely symptomless. And it’s entirely preventable,” said Dr Shafik Sidani, staff physician, colorectal surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. 

“The only way to be absolutely sure that you don’t have the disease is to go for a screening. What we have seen in other countries with longer established colorectal awareness campaigns, is that the proportion of people dying of colorectal cancer is falling. We would love to replicate that preventive success here.”



Dr Pascale Anglade, gastroenterologist at the Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times that in the West, the screening criteria usually begins at the age of 50, unless family history is involved. “However, in the UAE, even without a family history, screening criteria is at 40.”

She said doctors are still unsure why colon cancer in the UAE is affecting younger patients, and more studies are required. “The reason as to why it is being present earlier and with more aggressiveness, we don’t know. We need actual data with actual studies to figure out the causes.”

Source: Khaleej Times

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