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About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor that occurs in the colon or the rectum. It usually begins as small, noncancerous polyps that form on the colon lining. Over time some of these polyps can become cancerous. A colonoscopy is a test that looks for those polyps, to remove them before they grow to become cancerous.

A colonoscopy also helps detect colon cancer at an early stage which increases the survival rate of the patient by 90%. A regular screening is recommended for people who are above the age of 40, and/or living with obesity, diabetes and have a family history of colorectal cancer in their families.

Get screened

Colorectal Cancer in Numbers

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Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in Abu Dhabi and worldwide.

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More than 80% of all colorectal cancers are found in men and women who are 40 years and older

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95% percent of the colorectal cancer cases are curable if detected early

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Our 2022 Colorectal Cancer survey found that:

88% of people indicated that they have never been screened for colorectal cancer

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Our 2022 Colorectal Cancer survey found that:

36% of those who had undergone screening only went once per year

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Our 2022 Colorectal Cancer survey found that:

63% of people indicated that a lack of symptoms is the key reason why they would not undergo screening

Diagnostic Care at SSMC

In line with our deeply rooted values focused on always putting your needs first, we offer a comprehensive, compassionate and multidisciplinary approach that incorporates all available therapies to ensure you get the best possible preventive and corrective care in the region.

We offer a range of diagnostic tests, depending on individual symptoms and history.

Colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer and​ to explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, and other intestinal problems.

Get screened

GI Genius Technology - AI-Powered Screening

A cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) system used to perform gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures for the diagnosis of colon polyps, the GI Genius technology offers one of the highest accuracies in polyp detection compared to other diagnostic technologies, minimizing the risk of fatalities from colon cancer by 50%.

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Treatment Options

Our multidisciplinary team of gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and other specialists ensures you receive comprehensive, innovative, and supportive care.

Our surgical treatment options include the full range of laparoscopic and robot-assisted colorectal procedures, which reduce pain, blood loss, and recovery time, as well as help patients preserve normal function and avoid colostomy bags.

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Why Choose SSMC?

Innovative procedures

One of only 3 centers in the UAE to offer robotic-assisted colorectal surgery.

Modern technology

Equipped with AI-led technology including the GI Genius to offer more accurate diagnostic results to prevent colorectal cancer before it develops.

Specialized care

Our multidisciplinary team, offers the highest standard of medical care in treating complex cancer conditions.

In the media

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Patient Success Stories

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Due to feeling tired and having abnormal black stool, I went to the hospital in 2017 and did a general check-up. For fear of discovering a serious disease, I did not see any other physician to complete the investigations and screening. After 2 years, I experienced immense pain in my abdomen whenever I drank water or ate. Upon examination, it was confirmed that I have colon cancer that had spread to my liver at its last stages. In 2020, I did an additional surgery to remove a quarter of my liver followed by HIPEC in order to increase recovery chances. I am currently living with the disease; I urge everyone to start screening at the age of 40 and not to ignore the symptoms to prevent the cancer from developing. Early detection will improve the chances of recovery before it is too late. During the course of my journey, art has helped me get out of this world and heal my pain – my positivity and love for life helped me to keep going until now.

- Ayman, 56 years old
After I went to a clinic because of stomach pain, I was referred to SSMC’s GI clinic with Dr. Inas Mikhail. A colonoscopy was recommended, and they discovered the polyps during the procedure using AI Genius for better detection. As a result, Dr. Inas Mikhail, Dr. Noura Al Ali and Dr. Robert Church asked me to undergo surgery immediately to remove the polyps. Following the diagnostic tests done by Dr. Najla, the polyps appeared to be precancerous. It would have been necessary for me to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy if the precancerous polyps had developed into cancerous ones without early screening. Screening regularly can help detect cancer early, enabling easier and better treatment; it is important even if no symptoms are present.

- Huda, 45 years old
I visited SSMC's Emergency Department due to excruciating pain in my abdominal area. I was diagnosed with appendicitis and underwent surgery for that. During the surgery, the general surgeon discovered a tumor in my colon. Dr. Noura Al-Ali and Dr. Faek Al Jamali, both general and colorectal surgery consultants at SSMC, performed a robotic-assisted right hemicolectomy with complete mesocolic excision and resection of the terminal ileum following my appendectomy. I am so grateful for the vigilance the team at SSMC displayed. Had it not been for them, I would have never known or would have found out when it was too late.

- Bedoor Alhammadi, 25 years old
After facing persistent colorectal-related symptoms, I decided to visit a gastroenterologist at SSMC where I was asked to get a colonoscopy. Following my screening, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The diagnostic care I received as SSMC helped me get the treatment I needed. I am currently receiving two doses of chemotherapy at SSMC, and my care team there keeps me hopeful.

- Fareed Jaafar, 70 years old
After a lengthy battle with painful symptoms, I gave in to my fear of hospitals and consented to get a colonoscopy done. The screening detected a tumor that needed both surgery and chemotherapy to treat. Not only was my surgery successful at SSMC but also the medical team responsible for treating me has been so supportive throughout my journey, and for that I am very grateful.

- Nassra Alyahyaei, 50 years old
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The colonoscopy tradeoff: 30 minutes for a lifetime

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide – and is the third most common cancer in Abu Dhabi and worldwide. Unlike many other cancers, it's preventable with regular screening.

Despite how prevalent colorectal cancer is in the region, only a shocking 36% of people aged 40 and above undergo their regular screening. There's a host of reasons for these statistics: 55% of Emiratis reported that they avoid screening due to fear of pain (the procedures are actually painless when done under anesthesia/sedation), the discovery of diseases and embarrassment. While these feelings are understandable, the importance of regular screening can't be understated.


Who's at risk?

Given that colorectal cancer is common, almost everyone is at risk and should get screened. While some risk factors can be controlled (such as diet and exercise) others cannot.

While you can't control risk factors such as having a family history, it doesn't mean you're destined to develop colorectal cancer; you can still screen regularly to detect the pre-cancerous polyps early.

Changing lifestyle habits isn't easy; you'll have to learn to replace unhealthy choices with less harmful ones. But remember – the short-lived dopamine hit you get from tobacco, alcohol and processed food isn't worth sacrificing your health.


Detect or prevent: a win-win situation

Even if you've never had a colonoscopy, you're probably familiar with the term (one that's usually considered a pretty awkward topic of conversation).

Since symptoms of colorectal cancer don't typically show until the disease has advanced to a less treatable stage, a 30-minute colonoscopy detects colorectal cancer at an early stage, which can actually prevent it.

“There are real barriers and misconceptions that prevail when it comes to screening for this cancer, which is a true challenge”, says Dr. Michael Wallace, consultant and chair of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division at SSMC, “however, if colorectal cancer is detected early, up to 95% of cases are curable. SSMC is one of the leaders in high-quality colonoscopy. We monitor all internationally accepted standards for excellence and also provide state-of-the-art technologies. Our FDA and UAE-approved Artificial Intelligence technology, known as GI Genius, significantly enhances our ability to safely detect the presence of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon, which reduces the risk of death by at least 50%.”

No matter what the outcome of the colonoscopy is, you won't regret it; you'll either be relieved that potential signs of colorectal cancer were caught before they advanced, or have peace of mind in knowing that none exist.