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Most men in UAE shy away from colonoscopy: Survey

Ismail Sebugwaawo/Abu Dhabi
Filed on January 11, 2020 | Last updated on January 11, 2020 at 09.04 am

(Supplied)

Eighty-eight per cent of respondents had never had a colonoscopy - and 34 per cent would not have one even if advised by their doctor.

Most men in the UAE have been avoiding certain health checks that could help reduce their risk of common cancers - with some saying they are too 'embarassed' to get them done - a new survey conducted by a hospital in Abu Dhabi has found.

Eighty-eight per cent of respondents had never had a colonoscopy - and 34 per cent would not have one even if advised by their doctor.

When asked about the reason, 15 per cent cited embarrassment and 10 per cent highlighted the perceived social stigma.

The study - which was part of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi's campaign to encourage men to be more open about their health - polled more than 1,000 men about their recent experiences in healthcare and the type of checks they have had.

While more than half of those asked have had their blood pressure (66 per cent), cholesterol (50 per cent) and blood sugar levels (59 per cent) checked last year, many are staying away from screenings and examinations for colon cancer, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.

Only 24 per cent of the men surveyed reported that they regularly perform self-examinations for testicular cancer.

And when asked if they have ever spoken to their doctor about their prostate, just 25 per cent of men have.

Figures vary across cultural borders, with 50 per cent of Western respondents prepared to discuss their prostate with their doctor, compared to 30 per cent of Emiratis and just 23 per cent of Asian residents.

"As a community, we're clearly making progress in raising awareness about heart health and ways to lower cholesterol. However, we need to make similar levels of progress in other areas," said Dr Waleed Hassen, chairman of urology at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

"For example, men are at particular risk of cancers of the prostate, testicles and colon, so we need to help them take charge of their health and overcome their reluctance to be screened for these conditions."

Colon cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in the UAE, and around one in 20 male cancer deaths in Abu Dhabi are caused by prostate cancer, a condition only found in men.

Doctors recommend that men undergo screenings for colon cancer - including colonoscopy - every 10 years after the age of 40 and annual prostate check-ups at the age of 45, or younger if one has a family history of the disease.

"Men are risking their lives by giving in to feelings of embarrassment or fear. Early detection and treatment give men the best possible chance of making a full recovery," Dr Hassen said.

The hospital's campaign called 'MENtion It' is aimed at getting men to break the silence about their health and get regular check-ups, helping them detect health problems before they lead to further complications.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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