Colorectal cancer is a cancer affecting the colon or rectum. Also known as bowel, colon or rectal cancer, it occurs when cancerous cells form in the lining of the colon or rectal wall.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UAE in both men and women. It usually affects people over the age of 40 and the number of cases has increased over the last decade according to the Department of Health.
Screening tests can detect colorectal cancer early and can increase chances of successful treatment and survival. Regular screening can also reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer altogether.
The most common symptom of colorectal cancer is a change in your bowel habits. This may include seeing blood when you go to the toilet, persistent pain in your lower abdomen when you eat, a loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss. If you notice any of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, you should see a specialist. However, in the early stages of colorectal cancer, there may be no symptoms, which is why screening is important.
The cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, but there are some things that may increase your chances of developing it. These include:
There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer. These include leading a healthier lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight, improving your diet, quitting smoking and having regular screenings.
As with other types of cancer, colorectal cancer is much easier to treat when found early and can be prevented altogether with regular screening. In the early stages, it may show no symptoms, so screening is key to detection. Screening can also detect polyps, which are abnormal growths that can go on to become cancerous if not treated. Regular colorectal cancer screening is recommended from the age of 40.
The Colorectal Cancer Screening Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi specializes in the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Screening tests include:
If a screening test shows any anomalies, our program experts will advise the next steps for a conclusive diagnosis. Diagnostic tests can include blood tests, a biopsy, colonoscopy or certain scans.
If colorectal cancer is diagnosed, a treatment plan tailored to you is developed. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach, with experts from multiple specialties coming together to find the most appropriate course of action for you.
Treatment may involve surgery and, depending on the size and location of the tumor, chemotherapy and radiation may be necessary. The colorectal surgery team can usually perform minimally invasive surgery. Using state-of-the-art precision laparoscopic and robotic techniques, minimally invasive surgery means less pain, faster recovery and better treatment outcomes. Treatments may include:
Patients undergoing colorectal surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi enter the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program. This program involves bringing together a range of caregivers who work together to make sure you recover from treatment as quickly as possible. Caregivers involved may include:
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