Colorectal cancer incidence very high in UAE

Hospital offers free colorectal cancer screening

Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary, Senior Reporter
13:34 March 14, 2018

Dubai: According to a 2014 study 30 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the UAE are colorectal cancers which can be detected in the pre-cancerous stage with simple preventive screening of stool and blood. It is the second most recorded cancer in the UAE and second highest cause of mortality due to cancer in the UAE.

A simple preventive screening at the age of 40 can prevent any benign polyps in the colon from getting cancerous. Keeping this in mind the Zulekha health care group is encouraging UAE residents to come out in huge numbers for its walk-in free colorectal screening tests for the next one and a half months.

Screen and Survive

The group launched the third edition of its ‘Screen and Survive’ campaign in the presence of Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority. The campaign offers free screenings for both residents and visitors from March 12 — April 30, 2018. The campaign aims to support the UAE’s national target of decreasing cancer fatalities by 18 per cent by 2021.

The initiative has successfully screened 745 participants so far at Zulekha Hospital Sharjah and 570 at Zulekha Hospital Dubai since it started in 2016, detecting 10 positive results in Zulekha Hospital Sharjah and six in Dubai.

A group of doctors led by Dr Robert Warren, Professor of Surgery and chief of Surgical Oncology, Dr Adil Daud Professor of Oncology, both from the University of California, nutritionist Dr Nafisa Ahmad, Gyanecologist Dr Humeira Raees among others discussed various aspects of colorectal cancer and agreed that preventive screening and early action was the key to containing the high incidence of colorectal cancer.

Role of pre and probiotics

Nutritionist Dr Ahmad said it was possible to prevent colorectal cancer by keeping gut flora health.

She said: “Colorectcal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum and could be triggered by a genetic predisposition, sedentary lifestyle, consumption of processed meats, packaged food products with trans fats, high sugar diets and complete absence of health fibres from fruits and vegetables in daily diet.”

She advised residents to include a healthy dose of prebiotics such as bananas, cabbage, asparagus and have them in combination with probiotics such as live bacteria yoghurt, fermented foods such as Khimchi, Khombucha, miso, kefir and sauerkraut.

“The synergistic effect of pre and pro-biotic can not only help the growth and healthy gut flora but also neutralise all pre-cancerous pathogens.

Dr Raees said although the incidence of colorectal cancers was slightly higher in men, women usually were shy to bring their symptoms to the notice of doctors and she encouraged women to consult doctors if they detected any unusual bleeding, change in stool constitution or pain in the rectal area.

The doctors agreed that awareness and screening were the best weapons to combat the growth of this cancer and encouraged residents to come forward to undergo screenings.

How to avail the free screening

Both residents and visitors can register for the ‘Screen and Survive’ campaign by calling 600524442 or log on to to avail free fecal occult blood test (FOBT). The hospital will offers 50 per cent discount on CT Virtual Colonoscopy, 25 per cent discounts on Lab and Radiology services and a General Surgeon or Gastroenterologist consultation during this period.

Under the Basmah Initiative promoted by the Dubai Health Authority all Dubai residents with basic health care insurance are covered under the insurance for diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer