People aged between 45 and 55 advised to undergo screening

KUWAIT: A group photo featuring Mubarak A-Kabeer Hospital surgeons, Johnson & Johnson representatives and Central Circle Company staff. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Mubarak Hospital hosted a three-day awareness campaign on colorectal cancer in preparation for the annual awareness campaign that will be held in March. The campaign is organized by the health ministry in cooperation with Central Circle Company and Johnson & Johnson.
This campaign aims to spread awareness on the benefits of early detection of colon cancer. “The idea of this campaign is to detect cancer early. The management and prognosis of the case is affected greatly if we catch it early. It’s better for both the patients and surgeons if we detect it early. We are targeting people at Mubarak Hospital but the campaign involves everyone in Kuwait – both men and women of all nationalities. The campaign is being held at all public hospitals,” Dr Fatemah Buhamad of the general surgery team at Mubarak Hospital told Kuwait Times yesterday.

30-minute procedure
“We advise people aged between 45 and 55 to undergo screening. This includes colonoscopy. Many people fear the screening, as they think it’s a lengthy procedure and they try to avoid it till it’s too late and they start having symptoms. Colonoscopy is only a 30-minute procedure done under sedation, and they will not feel or remember anything. If it’s not beneficial, it will also not do them any harm, but it can make a big difference,” she added.

The patient can visit a general practitioner at the polyclinic to get a reference to any public hospital. “They can then book a colonoscopy appointment. Anybody experiencing any of the symptoms that are suggestive of cancer is encouraged to come and do the screening regardless of age,” Buhamad explained.
“The symptoms include change in habits, whether it’s diarrhea or constipation or recent weight loss that is unintentional – when people eat the same the same food and are not going to the gym and still lose 5-10 kg – or blood in the stool or discoloration of the stool to dark color. If anyone suffers from any of these symptoms, he should do a colonoscopy,” concluded Buhamad.

Very widespread
Colorectal cancer is very widespread. “We don’t have exact statistics, but colon cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide when it comes to morbidity and mortality among men and women. It can be cured completely, especially since the past five or 10 years with the improvement of medicines used along with surgery,” said Dr Bader Al-Shaban, specialist in general and colon and rectal surgery at Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital/Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital.

There are different causes for colorectal cancer. “It’s a genetic disease affected by the lifestyle of the patient. Other causes include consuming unhealthy food such as preservatives and processed food including hotdogs, salami, etc, and a lack of fibers and beans. The accumulation of toxins can cause polyps. Unfortunately the patient won’t feel any pain before the symptoms occur and then it’s too late,” explained Shaban.

The campaign focuses on the early detection of all colorectal tumors. If this disease is detected early, the rate of treatment reaches 100 percent. If we find the polyp and remove it, this will avoid transforming it into cancer. We can avoid it by screening programs, which are free of charge for both Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis,” noted Mohammed Khaled, Marketing Specialist at Johnson & Johnson.

By Nawara Fattahova