Forty-four people have been diagnosed with colon cancer (colorectal cancer), as a result of a potentially life-saving early-detection campaign.
The campaign, launched in 2019, has been carried out in phases and has covered 13,000 individuals.
It has also helped doctors to discover and diagnose 128 cases of polyps, which could have turned cancerous.
The King Hamad University Hospital (KHUH) in co-operation with the Health Ministry, RCSI-Bahrain and the National Non-communicable Diseases Control Committee, spearheaded the initiative.
The latest findings revealed that 18 cases of colorectal cancer were discovered during the last campaign which was held last month in Seef Mall – covering a sample of 430 people.
Colon cancer typically affects older adults, though it can occur at any age.
It usually begins with small, benign clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become cancerous.
“The samples were examined free of charge for all citizens and residents during the series of campaigns which were first launched in 2019,” said BDF Royal Medical Services Acting Commander Brigadier General Dr. Shaikh Fahd bin Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
“The campaign aims make people aware of the causes of colorectal cancer, its effects and preventive measures,” he added.
Brig Gen. Dr Shaikh Fahd said that all patients whose test results show positive signs can undergo an endoscopy free-of-charge and as soon as possible.
He stressed the importance of diagnosing cases in their initial stages, which increases the chances of patients fully recovering and reduce potential suffering.
The official urged everyone aged over 45 to undergo the internationally-approved examination, which is carried out in medical laboratories at KHUH, private hospitals and primary health centres participating in the campaign.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide; in 2020, almost two million cases were diagnosed. It is the second most common cause of cancer death, leading to almost 1m deaths per year.
The main causes are a lack of regular physical activity, a diet low in fruit and vegetables, a low-fibre and high-fat diet, or a diet high in processed meats. Being overweight and obese, as well as alcohol consumption and tobacco use have also been outlined by medics.