Dubai: A private group in the UAE has announced the launch of ‘Colo Alert’, the first DNA-based rapid test in its laboratories to detect early colon cancer in the country.

Colo Alert uses a highly precise molecular-genetic analysis method to detect tumour tissue, increasing the rate of colon cancer detection by almost four times, providing a far-detailed diagnosis, the group said in a press release on Thursday.

To introduce the German-based test, Star Metropolis Clinical Laboratories, a part of Arabian Healthcare Group Network, has signed an agreement with Just4Me Genetics LLC that provides genetic services.

Colorectal or colon cancer is the second-most common cancer in the world, and second biggest cause of cancer-related deaths in the UAE. The cancer is more prevalent in developed world and as per the American Cancer Society, it is expected to cause about 50,260 deaths during 2017 in the US alone.

According to the World Health Organisation global statistics, 774,000 people died from the disease in 2015. However, if detected at an early stage, chances of survival can be as high as 90 per cent, which can otherwise reduce to 10 per cent if the cancer spreads to other organs or tissues. Symptoms of the cancer include long-term changes in bowel habits — such as diarrhoea or constipation — blood during a bowel movement, black, tar-like stool, persistent abdominal discomfort — like cramps, gas or pain — weakness and fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

Doctors have also found a relationship between low fibre-high fat diet and colon cancer. Other causes that can put people at risk is family history of cancer, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and heavy use of alcohol.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO, Arabian Healthcare Group, said: “Given the high incidences of colon cancer in the UAE, there is an urgent need for more preventive measures. In this regard, the easy access to screening that Colo Alert offers is a huge leap of progress in the UAE health sector.

“The technology supplements the established occult blood test (through stool samples) for colon cancer with state-of-the-art gene diagnostics, besides examining the possibility of the cancer at genetic level. The non-invasive procedure with much deeper insight than ever before — around 90 per cent — is instrumental in diagnosing the disease at the earliest possible stage, which often leads to complete cure. This is also one of the reasons why doctors insist on regular screening, particularly for people over the age of 50.”

Bruno Rosset, founder and CEO of Just4Me Genetics, added: “This partnership brings us closer to our vision of bringing genetic testing to the mainstream medical practice at an affordable price. The launch of Colo Alert test is also one step closer to the UAE’s aim to reduce cancer by 18 per cent by 2021, and by introducing this test in the UAE, people will stand a far better chance of avoiding colorectal cancer.”