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One-fifth of UAE colon cancer patients are below 40.

Summary: Studies also show that colon cancer is the third-most common cancer in men.

Ahmed Shaaban

Young people in the UAE are getting more prone to colon cancer with one-fifth of patients below the age of 40, doctors in the UAE have warned.

A recent study on colon cancer conducted on residents between the ages of 29 to 81 years found that 22 per cent of the cancer cases were patients below the age of 40, while people younger than 50 years made up 41 per cent.

During the World Colon Cancer Awareness Month in March, doctors at the RAK Hospital urged the UAE residents to be alert of their colon health and opt for screening at an earlier age instead of waiting to turn 50 which is the current protocol.

"Since colon cancer is generally asymptomatic in the earlier stages, it has sufficient time before it manifests itself and spreads to an incurable stage," warned Dr Naveed Azam, senior consultant gastroenterologist at the RAK Hospital. "The cancer begins as a small polyp which can be detected during a colonoscopy, CT colonogram or barium studies. If found early, the polyps can be removed, preventing them from turning cancerous. Another option is to check for occult blood in the stools or stool DNA test before a colonoscopy."

Studies also show that colon cancer is the third-most common cancer in men and the second-most common in women among the UAE residents. As per a recent report, 30 per cent of all diagnosed cancers are colorectal cancers.

The success rate of treatment depends on the size and stage of the tumour, including any spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, but by and large if detected and treated early, the survival rates are much better, he added.

"The nature of the disease - progression from adenoma to invasive cancer over a period of time - gives patients an opportunity to screen for polyps and early cancers and treat this successfully.

"Some of the known risk factors for colon cancer include age, family history of colon cancer and a diet low in fruits, vegetables, fiber and high on red meat and processed food," he said. "Lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of cancer. Moreover, patients suffering from Ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with colon cancers."

Symptoms of bowel cancer that can manifest themselves at a later stage include a change in bowel habits, blood in the stools, weight loss, and reduced appetite, Dr Azam explained. "Bowl cancer sometimes leads to abdominal pain/discomfort and bloating, difficult defecation or narrower stools, tiredness, and anaemia."

Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO of Arabian Healthcare Group and executive director of RAK Hospital, said: "It is quite alarming to watch younger people falling victim to this condition, and we hope that more youngsters will take notice and go for earlier screening. March being the awareness month for colon cancer is the perfect opportunity to stress on the need for not just screening, but also maintaining a healthier lifestyle that will simply address the issue at its roots."

Important information

>30% of all diagnosed cancers are colorectal cancers

>22% of the colon cancer cases were patients below the age of 40

>41% of colon cancer patients were people younger than 50 years

Ahmed Shaaban Originally from Egypt, I have been in Dubai since December 2005. Before coming here, I worked as an English language instructor, chief En/Ar translator, proofreader, reporter in Egypt and Qatar. I have also worked as a reporter, correspondent and simultaneous translator with two satellite channels in Dubai. I have a masters degree in media, Cairo University, 2014, a bachelor degree in English language and translation, Ain Shams University, Cairo, 1996, and three post-graduate diplomas in English language and Instruction. With over 19 years of experience in translation, interpretation, EFL instruction, and reporting. I am interested in technology, aviation, politics, as well as community, parliament and defence issues. I enjoy reading, writing, exercising, and surfing the web.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Mar 26, 2019
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