- Art exhibition brings to light the journey of a UAE-based artist living with colorectal cancer.
- Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UAE
- SSMC renews awareness efforts by bringing back its colorectal cancer campaign ‘You Can Prevent It, We Can Treat It’, and conducting awareness talks across Abu Dhabi.
Marking Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (March), 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 with an aim to raise awareness about colorectal cancer.
The art display, which is open to the public until March 24th at SSMC’s Inpatient Building on the Ground Floor, is the result of a close collaboration between 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 as well as portraits.
Speaking at the opening, Mr. Awwad said: “I discovered my passion for art in eighth grade, when I drew for the first-time sketches for my art class. My teacher, who took a keen interest in my drawings and nurtured my skills, inspired me to take up art as a career. It was a turning point in my life.”
Ayman Awwad, aged 56, has been living with colorectal cancer since 2017 and has undergone multiple procedures and treatments. Mr. Awwad, who is still battling the disease, explained: “Art has helped me a lot during this difficult journey; it has healed my sadness and brought out my positivity and love for life, which keeps me going. Art truly has the power to make people experience life beyond their illness. I wish is for people living with serious diseases or cancer to find ways to enjoy life.”
Under the banner of ‘You Can Prevent It, We Can Treat It’, 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, 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 amongmen in the UAE. Routine screenings are essential, as early detection vastly improves treatment outcomes and increases the chances of a cure.
Dr. Michael Wallace, chair of the Division of Gastroenterology at SSMC commented on the importance of raising the disease’s profile and said: “Colorectal cancer often does not show symptoms in its early stage. When symptoms show, people often ignore them due to fear of discovering a serious disease. At 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.”
With the aim of increasing awareness of this type of cancer in the UAE, SSMC experts are providing awareness talks and health advice in the heart of Abu Dhabi communities throughout the month of March.
SSMC continues to invest in cutting-edge technologies. The GI Genius, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered tool, enhances visualization and eases the detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps during colonoscopies. Since its introduction in April 2022, SSMC has screened over 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 SSMC’s patient-centered approach, Dr. Abdulqader Almessabi, deputy chief medical officer and consultant, division of gastroenterology & hepatology at SSMC said: “SSMC serves to elevate the provision of health care 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 center, 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, 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 specialized nurses that adhere to the needs of female patients, providing them with added privacy and human-centric care.