SSMC inaugurates art exhibition during colorectal cancer awareness month

ABU DHABI, 17th March, 2023 (WAM) — Marking Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals and a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, inaugurated today an art exhibition to raise awareness about colorectal cancer.

The art display, open to the public until 24th March at SSMC’s In-patient Building on the Ground Floor, is due to the close collaboration between the SSMC and Ayman Awwad, a UAE-based artist living with colorectal cancer.

With the theme of “The healing power of art”, the exhibition showcases a diverse mix of landscape paintings, abstract art and portraits.

Under the banner of “You Can Prevent It, We Can Treat It”, the SSMC is bringing back its colorectal cancer campaign to urge residents aged 40 and above to undergo regular screenings and increase their chances of early detection. As part of the campaign, the SSMC is hosting a series of community talks throughout the month to educate the public on the importance of screenings and early detection.

Colorectal cancer typically starts as a benign polyp – a soft tissue growth – that develops on the colon or rectum’s lining and can develop slowly over time to become cancerous. It is the most common cancer among men in the UAE. Routine screenings are essential, as early detection vastly improves treatment outcomes and increases the chances of a cure.

Commenting on the importance of raising the disease’s profile, Dr. Michael Wallace, Chair of the Division of Gastroenterology at the SSMC, said, “Colorectal cancer often does not show symptoms in its early stage. When symptoms show, people often ignore them for fear of discovering a serious disease. At the SSMC, improving the health and well-being of our community is an absolute priority. Our multidisciplinary team works cohesively to shed light on the importance of screenings and how preventable colorectal cancer can be.”

To increase awareness of this type of cancer in the UAE, the SSMC experts are providing awareness talks and health advice in the heart of Abu Dhabi communities throughout March.

The SSMC continues to invest in cutting-edge technologies. The GI Genius, an artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool, enhances visualisation and eases the detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps during colonoscopies. Since its introduction in April 2022, the SSMC has screened more than 300 cases using the GI Genuis module and is set to enhance its capabilities to further impact outcomes through the latest software and technical updates.

Remarking on the SSMC’s patient-centred approach, Dr. Abdulqader Almessabi, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Consultant, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the SSMC, said, “The SSMC serves to elevate the provision of healthcare services in the country under the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Our teams of experts are fully dedicated to safeguarding the community’s health through ongoing health literacy efforts that focus on preventive medicine and the application of innovative approaches and techniques. As we work tirelessly towards becoming a destination medical centre, we remain committed to integrating sustainability in every step of our operations and providing the highest levels of integrated and compassionate care to our patients.”

As the designated lead for cancer services within the SEHA network and as part of its commitment to placing patients’ needs first, the SSMC also provides female patients access to a women-led team of experts. The multidisciplinary team is composed of highly qualified female gastroenterologists, pathologists, radiologists, oncologists and specialised nurses that adhere to the needs of female patients, providing them with added privacy and human-centric care.