According to the Ministry of Health, the number one cancer in Singapore is colorectal cancer. This type of cancer can go unnoticed as it sometimes does not show any symptoms. Hence, it is important to undergo colorectal cancer screening. If you are not sure whether you are a candidate for colorectal cancer screening in Singapore, read this article to find out.
Are you a candidate for colorectal cancer screening?
There are numerous factors that could call for a person to undergo colorectal cancer screening. Below are the reasons why:
- You are over 50 years old – While colorectal cancer can develop at any age, people who are over the age of 50 are more prone to being diagnosed with this disease. Aging generally increases the risk of colorectal cancer development.
- Your gender is male – As compared to women, men are more susceptible to developing colorectal cancer.
- You come from a family lineage that has a history of colorectal cancer – If any of your first-degree relatives have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer prior to reaching the age of 60, then your risk of getting the disease is almost twice than those who have no trace of this type of cancer in their bloodline. Colorectal cancer can be passed on from one generation to another, so it is crucial that you have a conversation with your family members about your medical history to find out what diseases and symptoms you need to be wary of.
- You are from African descent – One study done in the United States found out that the highest incidence of colorectal cancer belongs to people with African ethnicity. Another study done in West Africa in recent years reported that colorectal cancer incidence in several countries has increased with men getting diagnosed more than women.
- You are obese – Overweight or obese individuals may have a higher risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- You have been diagnosed with or have a personal history of specific types of cancer – Ovarian cancer and uterine cancer can increase the risk of colorectal cancer development.
- You have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition that can trigger inflammation in the large intestine that can be chronic, thus doubling the risk of cancer development in the colon. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are examples of inflammatory bowel disease.
- You have been diagnosed with rare genetic conditions – Certain diseases that are uncommon and have been inherited can increase the risk of getting colorectal cancer. Some of these conditions are:
- Attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP)
- Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Gardner syndrome
- Lynch syndrome
- Juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS)
- You are experiencing colorectal cancer symptoms – Colorectal cancer may be asymptomatic, which highlights the importance of getting colorectal cancer screening early especially when you are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with this dreaded disease. However, this cancer is not fully without symptoms. Here is a list of what you should look out for:
- Blood in your rectum or stool
- Change in your bowel’s consistency and habits that is persistent
- Discomfort or pain in the abdomen that won’t go away
- Losing weight without intention or reason
If you have checked several items in the list above, consider getting colorectal cancer screening in Singapore as soon as possible.
Where can you go for colorectal cancer screening in Singapore?
Colorectal cancer screening is available in both private and public hospitals in Singapore. Alpine Surgical Practice, located at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, offers this kind of screening in their clinic. It is recommended that you first undergo a consultation with a Dr Aaron Poh to have your health checked and get a proper diagnosis.
Oftentimes people come into their initial consultation without any preparation, which results in not getting all of their concerns and questions answered. Here are some tips that you can follow to make sure that you make the most out of your first appointment with clinic:
- Make a list of your family’s medical history as well as medications and supplements you take
- Make a list of your symptoms, if any, including the dates of when you started feeling them and how frequently they occur
- Make a list of your other concerns and questions
- Bring any diagnostic test results that you have done recently
- Have a pen and paper or any device which can allow you to take down notes
- Have someone accompany you to the doctor to help you take notes or remember information from the doctor
What to expect during a colorectal cancer screening?
The chances of treating and curing colorectal cancer is higher when it is detected at an earlier stage. There are a lot of ways that can be done to see if you have this disease or are exhibiting its symptoms. The best procedure for colorectal cancer screening in Singapore is colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy is a medical procedure carried out to check the condition of the lining and other parts of your large intestine. This procedure uses a colonoscopy, which is a tube that is long, thin, and flexible. It has a light and a tiny camera attached to one of its ends, which projects the images to a monitor allowing your doctor to see the inner parts of your colon as the tube is carefully maneuvered inside your body.
If polyps are detected during this procedure, your doctor may remove them simultaneously. A biopsy is usually done to the collected polyps to know whether it is cancerous or not.
Colonoscopy is done out-patient and completed within an hour. This procedure uses a light sedative to ensure that the patient is unconscious while the examination is underway and any discomfort will not be felt. Colonoscopy is very much safe and any major complications or risks rarely happen, such as:
- Adverse reaction to sedative – advise your doctor beforehand if you are sensitive to any type of medication
- Bleeding in the large intestine – this is usually managed and treated using the colonoscope once detected
- Tear in the large intestine’s lining – also managed and treated with early detection of the colonoscope
If you would like to know more about how colorectal cancer screening is performed in Singapore, visit Alpine Surgical Practice or website.
Alpine Surgical Practice – Dr Aaron Poh, Consultant Surgeon
3 Mount Elizabeth
#17-16 Medical Centre
Phone: +65 6589 8929
Whatsapp: +65 8875 0080