Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) has launched ‘Your food -Your health’ campaign to raise awareness about colorectal cancer, the second most common cancer among men and third most among women in Qatar.
Heba Nassar, head of Health Education Department at QCS, said, “This campaign aims to raise awareness about colorectal cancer- an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the colon or the rectum. Most colorectal cancers begin as a growth called a polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Some types of polyps can transform into cancer over the course of several years, but not all polyps become cancer.”
“There are non-modifiable risk factors such as age, gender and family history. Death rate from colorectal cancer increases with age and people above the age of 50 are more prone to the disease. Colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates are higher in men. A person is at a higher risk of developing the disease if his first-degree relatives have the history of colorectal cancer or polyps,” Nassar explained.
The official noted that obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet-food high in red meat and processed meats and lack of physical activity increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Symptoms of the disease include bleeding from the rectum, blood in the stool which may make it look dark, a change in the shape of the stool, cramping or abdominal pain, a feeling of discomfort or an urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need to have one, new onset of constipation or diarrhoea that lasts for more than a few days, unintentional weight loss,
weakness and fatigue.
The chance of the disease can be minimised to a great extent my refraining from smoking and controlling body weight.
“Get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week. Physical activity has a demonstrable protective effect against bowel cancer. Limit your consumption of red meat. Studies show that bowel cancer risk is 17-30% higher if a person eats 100-120 gm of red meat every day. Decrease the portions or choose chicken or fish instead. In addition, eat more fruits and vegetables,” she added.