For many people, the word “cancer” brings up a lot of fears – the fear of pain, the fear of expensive and long-term treatment, the fear of separation from their loved-ones, the fear that life would never be the same again, and ultimately the fear of death.
Unfortunately, these fears stop many people from visiting a doctor even if they are experiencing possible symptoms of cancer. However, if people can overcome their fear, it could be the key factor to help detect and prevent cancer early and save one’s life.
Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore. Nearly 10,000 Singaporean males and females were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 2010-2014. Many more Singaporeans are at risk of developing colorectal cancer due to their family history. Yet, due to common misconceptions about the screening procedure, only a small number of people go for colorectal cancer screening in Singapore.
In the hopes of educating more people about colorectal cancer screening in Singapore, let us discuss the three most common misconceptions about the procedure below.
There are two methods of colorectal cancer screening in Singapore: Faecal occult blood test, which tests for the presence of blood in the stool; and colonoscopy, which allows doctors to look at the inner intestinal walls of the patient using a tube with a camera at the tip.
If you are Singaporean or Permanent Resident, age 50 and above and haven’t had a faecal occult blood test before, you are eligible to collect a free FIT kit from the Singapore Cancer Society. The FIT kit will come with instructions on how to collect a stool sample for the faecal occult blood test. You will also be advised of collection centres where you can drop off your stool sample.
If you prefer to undergo a colonoscopy, you could get this done in many clinics throughout Singapore. Pricing will vary from one clinic to another; however, the cost of prevention through screening will prove to be lower than the cost of cure.
Colorectal cancer screening in Singapore is recommended for everyone above 50 years old, regardless of whether they are experiencing any symptoms or not. During the procedure, your doctor may detect polyps or abnormal growth in your intestines, if not removed, could become cancerous over time. Your doctor will also recommend the frequency of your screening depending on several factors that may put you at risk of developing the disease. With regular screening, colorectal cancer can be prevented.
This fatalistic view can lead you to neglect the fact that colorectal cancer is highly curable if detected and treated early.
Unlike what most people think, colorectal cancer screening is a safe, pain-free procedure with mild or no discomfort at all. Your doctor will advise you about what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Normally, going for a colorectal cancer screening in Singapore will have no downtime and you will be able to resume your daily activities as soon as the screening is done.
Colorectal cancer screening in Singapore is available at the Harley Street Heart & Cancer Centre.
Talk to our oncologist about getting screened today.