The month of march has been designated the colorectal cancer awareness month. Dr Ganesh shares government’s concerns about the rise of colorectal cancer in Singapore. It is not only the commonest cancer among Men, and second most common cancer among females, it is also both preventable and curable at an early stage. Dr Ganesh Ramalingam strongly believes it is imperative that everyone knows what to note and what screening tests are available to you.
Colorectal Cancer Screening has been universally proven to reduce death from colorectal cancer. The various modalities includes colonoscopy, barium enema, Faecal Occult Blood test and CT colonography .
Till this day, Colonoscopy remains the most accurate form of screening for polyps and cancer. Therefore, it is the most useful modality in the prevention for colorectal cancers. A colonoscopy encompasses the large intestine together with the rectum and anus. It is performed via a camera mounted at the end of a thin flexible tube. Samples or biopsies of the large intestine can be taken for tests if any growths or unusual findings are present.
FIT (Faecal Immunochemical test) detects the presence of blood in faeces. This straightforward test that is used for basic screening is presented in a kit and can be even used in the comfort of your own home.
CT Colonography uses a CT Scan (Computed Tomography) to create both 2D and 3D views of the inside of the colon and rectum to detect polyps.
A barium enema is an X-ray examination that detects abnormalities in the colon. The procedure is also known as colon X-ray. It uses a contrast that is inserted through the back passages to line the colon and thereafter an X-ray is taken.
As per the MOH guidelines, Dr Ganesh Ramalingam recommends screening at the age 50 for patients with no symptoms. To add to that, it is not unreasonable to screen every5 years beyond that even if the scopes are normal. However, for individuals with symptoms, especially if they are prolonged, they should consult a doctor immediately with a view to investigate further. The decision for screening should be considered at an earlier age if the patient has a strong family history of colorectal cancer.