Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi patient beats cancer with the help of robotic surgery and the hospital’s enhanced recovery program

Dr. Shafik Sidani, a colorectal surgeon in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: “When I was told that I have rectal cancer, I was terrified. I thought I would die. But I love life too much and was not ready to accept that fate,” said a 48-year-old patient of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health.

The Abu Dhabi-based real estate professional, who did not wish to be named, was successfully treated for rectal cancer and had a hysterectomy at the same time through robotic surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. She was discharged three days after the operation and was able to walk, drive and even resume her regular diet shortly after thanks to the hospital’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) pathway that is provided to patients. The initiative helps patients bounce back after surgery more effectively by encouraging them to stay informed and participate in their care.

“The care team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was so detailed in their explanation of what the disease was and what to expect during and after surgery that I was completely relaxed and ready. I knew that the only way to make a full recovery was to be proactive and stay positive,” she said.

The patient decided to get a colonoscopy at another hospital in 2019 when she first began having irregular bowel movements and saw blood in her stool.

“My sister had recently found out that she had colon polyps. They were benign but I decided that it was best that I get a colonoscopy too. I’m so glad that I did not ignore it and took control of the situation.”

She was given chemoradiotherapy treatment for six weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer that had grown into the outermost layers of the rectum and spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Following that, the patient decided to have her cancer surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2020. Led by Dr. Shafik Sidani, a colorectal surgeon in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a multidisciplinary team performed a combined hysterectomy and rectal resection.

“The total mesorectal excision was done robotically, which ensured minimal invasiveness and maximum precision, and faster recovery for the patient. The colon was reconnected to the anus, and we added a temporary loop ileostomy (small intestine ostomy bag) to protect the connection and give it time to heal,” said Dr. Sidani. He explained that taking part in her own enhanced recovery care allowed the patient to be comfortable and well-informed pre- and post-operation and return to normal life quickly.

“We start by educating patients, having them meet everyone involved in their care, preparing the body for surgery and setting their expectations,” said Dr. Sidani. “We also strongly encourage them to participate in their care so that they can get out of bed quickly and return to their normal activities of living. It makes their recovery journey easier.”

The patient has completed post-surgery chemotherapy, had her ileostomy bag reversed, and is now cancer-free. 

For more information or to book an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, call 800 222 33, visit www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae or download the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi app.

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Amana Healthcare, Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), and National Reference Laboratory (NRL). In addition, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is an integral part of Mubadala Health.

With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.