According to an official from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Qatar and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the country.

Statistics released by the Qatar National Cancer Registry of the Ministry of Public Health indicate that among all male cancers in Qatar in 2015, colorectal cancer was the second most common with 94 new cases reported, followed by leukemia with 65 new cases reported.

colorectal cancer infographic
(Image from John Hopkins Medicine)

Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum. Also known as bowel or colon cancer, most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp or growth along the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps are often non-cancerous, but some can develop into cancer.

According to Dr Mohamed Abunada, Lead Colorectal Surgeon at HMC, environmental conditions, family history, and diet are among the major factors that can lead to colorectal disease. The risk can, however, be lowered by avoiding a high-protein diet and fat-rich foods, quitting smoking, and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Dr Abunada also said that symptoms may not be immediately apparent but can include a change in bowel habits, for example, diarrhoea or constipation, a change in stool consistency, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, persistent abdominal discomfort and belly pain, weakness and fatigue, and unintended weight loss.

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in Qatar. To reduce the number of cases in Qatar we are doubling our educational and awareness efforts and highlighting preventive measures. We are also working hard to improve the treatment offered to people diagnosed with the disease by implementing the latest and best surgical techniques.’

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is held every year in March, and this year the National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) is using the occasion to host activities designed to raise public awareness on the disease. Catherine Gillespie, Executive Director of Nursing at NCCCR said their activities aim to educate the public about the importance of prevention and about limiting the risk by taking preventive steps and being screened for colorectal cancer regularly. Screenings are particularly important as colorectal cancer can be non-symptomatic and the disease can develop without any early warning signs.

For more information about Colorectal Cancer, visit the HMC website at hamad.qa.