Zulekha Hospital offers free colorectal cancer screenings in the UAE

The ‘Screen and Survive’ campaign aims to drive awareness of the fatal disease and save the lives of the UAE’s citizens through preventative screenings

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Staff Report

In the presence of dignitaries from the Ministry of Health and Dubai Health Authority, Zulekha Healthcare Group has launched its fourth annual ‘Screen and Survive’ colorectal cancer (CRC) campaign. The initiative aims to raise the awareness of the disease by offering free preventative screenings to the public between March 4th and May 3rd 2019 in order to reduce the number of CRC fatalities in the UAE through early detection in the pre-cancerous stage.

The screenings are open to visitors and residents of the UAE and supports the country’s goal of reducing cancer fatalities by 18% by 2021. With such a high prevalence of colon cancer in the UAE, the second most common cancer and second highest cause of cancer death, urgent action is required. The purpose of Zulekha Healthcare Group’s campaign is to encourage the UAE community to talk about the disease in the hope that more people will attend preventative screenings, to boost early detection and ultimately save lives.

Colorectal cancer is more prevalent in men than woman and the risk factors for cancer development include high fat and low fibre diets, gene abnormalities and increasing age – more than 80% of cases in the UAE were patients over 40 years old.

The campaign launch was attended by VIPs and dignitaries including Dr. Salem Abdul Rahman Al Darmaki, Advisor to the Minister of Health – MOH; Brigadier General Ahmad Rafi, Director of the General Administration of Administrative Affairs; Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Badr bin Qabah al-Muhairi – Executive Director of the Dubai Police Health Center; Consultant Dr. Mohamed Haj – Head of the Department of Health Insurance pioneer physician; H.E Salem Yousef Al-Qaseer, Commission for the Development of Labor Standards – Government of Sharjah; H. E Abdulla Salem Al Kaabi, Cancer Care Society (RAHMA), Abu Dhabi; Prof Dr Robert S Warren, Professor Department of Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology, UCSF.

To date, the programme has screened hundreds of participants and detected six to seven positive cases on an average each year. During the ‘Screen and Survive’ event, attendees heard from a survivor Virjilio who detailed his journey through the process and urged others to participate in the life saving initiative. In addition, campaign Ambassador Dr. Adil Daud, Professor, Oncology Director from the University of California, San Francisco, USA and Dr. Robert S. Warren, Professor of Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, the ambassadors engaged the audience in a panel discussion discussing statistics on colon cancer, age for screening, types of patients who should undergo a colonoscopy and recommendations for patients with high risk and family history of CRC.

Dr. Daud said: “Colorectal screenings can make a powerful impact. The screenings are capable of detecting the pre-stages of cancer making it a preventable disease and saving many lives. The simple test can be the difference between life and death and that is why initiatives such as the ‘Screen and Survive’ campaign are so poignant. By working together with participants to make these screenings possible, we can take a stand against cancer and continue to help build a happy and healthy future for the community of the UAE.”

Zulekha Healthcare Group attendees included Dr. Zulekha Daud, Chairperson; Zanubia Shams, Co-chairperson; Taher Shams, Managing Director. Commenting on the programme, Mrs Zanubia Shams said: “We are very passionate about giving back to the communities in which we operate, and through our campaigns we aim to positively change the lives of those who opt to take the screening and the people around them. We continue to invest in programmes such as ‘Screen and Survive’ as we believe we can really make a difference and, in turn, support the UAE government in its mission to drive down fatalities due to cancer.”

‘Screen and Survive’ is led by Zulekha Hospital in its fourth year and supported by its partners Dubai Police, RTA, Air Arabia, 89.1 radio 4, 101.3 Gold FM and 107.8 FM Al Rabia.

To register for the screening, call 600524442 or visit crc.zulekhahospital.com to avail free fecal occult blood test (FOBT), 50% discount on CT Virtual Colonoscopy, 25% discounts on Lab and Radiology services and a General Surgeon or Gastroenterologist consultation. – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com