Colon Cancer? Nah! Your Guide to Colorectal Screening in Singapore

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Colorectal cancer — the second most common cancer in Singapore — is a significant issue in Singapore’s healthcare system, affecting a wide range of people.

Despite its high prevalence, regular screening can significantly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Adopting this proactive approach makes early detection and treatment possible, significantly improving the chances of a successful outcome.

This blog highlights the significance of an effective screening method for maintaining colon health. It will emphasisese the method’s accuracy and how it empowers patients. By exploring the intricacies of colorectal screening in Singapore, you will gain the knowledge and confidence needed to confront colorectal cancer head-on.

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, targets the colon in the digestive system. The colon is an essential part of the large intestine in the lower abdomen that extends to the anus. The colon consists of four distinct sections: the descending colon, transverse colon, ascending colon, and sigmoid colon. Each section is named based on the direction in which food passes.

Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Before exploring screening options, it’s essential to grasp the nature of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer originates in the colon or rectum and often emerges from precancerous growths known as polyps. Over time, polyps can turn into cancer, forming tumours that might spread throughout the body. Common signs of colorectal cancer include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, stomach discomfort, and sudden weight loss.

Who is at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

1) Age

 

 

Colorectal cancer can strike people at any age, but it’s much more frequent in those over 50. On average, rectal cancer is diagnosed around age 63 for both men and women. For colon cancer, the average age of diagnosis is 68 for men and 73 for women.

2) Gender

 

 

Men have a slightly higher likelihood of developing colorectal cancer compared to women.

3) Family History

 

 

Having a family history of colon or rectal cancer increases your risk of getting colorectal cancer, even though most cases are not genetic. The risk is even higher if a close family member had colorectal cancer and died before age 50.

4) Other Stomach Disorders

 

 

Some other digestive problems might slightly raise your risk of colorectal cancer. These include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Rare genetic conditions like Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), and Lynch syndrome

 

5) Lifestyle Factors

 

Eating a lot of red meat, being overweight, not exercising, and smoking increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

What is Colorectal Cancer Screening?

Colorectal cancer screening is similar to other health checks. It aims to detect colorectal cancer early when it’s most treatable. This can help lower the number of deaths caused by this disease and the number of people who get it.

Doctors look for signs of colon and rectal cancer and factors that could increase the risk of getting colorectal cancer, like having several polyps in the lower intestine.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Options in Singapore

In Singapore, you have several choices for colorectal cancer screening. These tests consider your needs, such as family history, age, and overall health. Your doctor will recommend your best option based on your risk factors.

Here are some common screening methods:

Colonoscopy: This is the most common test. It uses a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera to examine the entire colon.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT): This simple test checks your stool for hidden blood, which can be a sign of colon cancer.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This test examines the lower part of your colon using a flexible tube with a light and camera.

CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy): This uses X-rays to create detailed images of your colon.

Let’s delve into the details of colonoscopy:

  • Colonoscopy is considered the standard procedure for colorectal cancer screening.
  • Visual Examination: During a colonoscopy, a flexible tube called a colonoscope, equipped with a camera, is inserted into the rectum and colon to inspect the inner lining visually.
  • Polyp Detection: Colonoscopy reduces cancer risk by identifying and removing precancerous polyps.
  • Comprehensive Assessment: This procedure thoroughly assesses colorectal health by examining the entire colon.
  • A colonoscopy can prevent precancerous lesions from developing into cancer by removing polyps during the operation.
  • Recommended Frequency: For people in Singapore, getting a colonoscopy is recommended as a routine screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50.
  • Bowel Preparation: Before the surgery, patients must undergo bowel preparation to ensure a clear view of the colon.
  • Safe and Effective: When performed by qualified medical professionals, colonoscopy is a safe and low-risk procedure.
  • Follow-up Recommendations: Individuals may receive guidance on surveillance intervals or follow-up screenings based on the results.

Early detection is key to successfully treating colorectal cancer. Regular screenings are your best way to catch it early. A colonoscopy is a reliable test that can identify colorectal cancer in its early stages. This allows for prompt treatment, often leading to better outcomes. Don’t delay – schedule your colorectal screening today!

 

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1 Comment

  1. Darien Lynch on

    To avoid the disease from progressing to severe stages, medical centers always encourage people to have regular health checks every 6 months slope game.

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