Detecting Colorectal Cancer Using Colonoscopy

Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore. Those aged 45 years old and above have a higher risk of having colorectal cancer. But it is common to believe that if we feel well and do not experience any bleeding or pain, that we are not at risk of having colorectal cancer. This is not true.

Even seemingly healthy people can be suffering from colorectal cancer and not be aware of it until it is too late. Thus it is very important to come for a colonoscopy.

How Do You Get Checked for Colorectal Cancer?

Screening is a process where our doctor recommends testing to help detect colorectal cancer. It is hoped that the check will either detect polyps or early cancer, thus reducing your risk of dying from this disease. Since it is the most common cancer in Singapore, it is worthwhile to spend your time to check for this. Furthermore, unlike many other cancers, if colorectal cancer is detected early, it is potentially curable.

The test used depends on your risk profile and symptoms. These include a simple stool test called FIT (faecal immuno-histochemical test) or Colonoscopy.

FIT is used to detect invisible traces of blood in the stool, which could be a sign of colorectal polyps (where cancers grow from) or cancer itself. This test is suitable only if you do not have symptoms (eg. no pain, bleeding, change in bowel patterns), but are aged of 45 years and older or have a family history of cancer. If this test is positive for blood, then you should do a colonoscopy.

If you already see blood in your stool, toilet paper or bowl or you are already experiencing the earlier mentioned symptoms, you should just proceed for a colonoscopy instead.

FIT is not full-proof and the Gold Standard for colorectal cancer screening is Colonoscopy. Consult our doctor on the recommended test for you.

What is an Endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a general term to describe tests to check the inside of the body using tubes. For the digestive system, endoscopy is either done though the mouth or anus. For the purpose of detecting colorectal polyps and cancer, this is done through the anus and is called Colonoscopy. A Gastroscopy is done through the mouth to detect problems in the stomach and small intestine.

 

inner view of colonoscopy detecting a polyp

Colonoscopy detecting a polyp

What is a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a safe procedure in which our doctor uses a flexible tube (called a colonoscope) to examine the inside of your colon and rectum, with an attached high-definition camera and fibre-optic lights to take videos and pictures. Under sedation (not general anaesthesia) with the patient comfortably asleep, our doctor inserts the scope through the anus to check the colon and rectum for abnormalities like cancer and polyps.

Our doctor will sample or remove these abnormalities while you are asleep and send them for testing; and results will usually be ready within 2 to 3 days. This will confirm if it is cancerous or benign and the necessary advice will be given.

Find out more about the types of endoscopy services that we provide at Mark Wong Surgery.

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