Take on a proactive approach in colon cancer detection and prevention with timely colonoscopies.
Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that is performed to examine the entire colon and rectum under direct visualization. By inserting a thin, flexible tube with a small light and camera at the end through the anus and rectum until it reaches the beginning of the colon, we will be able to detect any abnormal growths that may be present in the large intestines.
During this examination, any polyp that is found will be removed to prevent colorectal cancer from potentially developing and a biopsy of the tissues can be carried out for further testing.
This is why colonoscopies are known to be highly effective and recommended for diagnosing colorectal cancer at an early stage, which leads to a better outcome for patients.
As colonoscopy is usually done under sedation, it is painless with only minor discomfort such as bloating after the procedure.
As the following groups of people are at higher risk, we recommend that they undergo regular screenings every 3-5 years upon the age of 50, or even earlier and more frequently if they have a family member who had colorectal cancer at an earlier age.
Although colorectal cancer may manifest at any age, chances of developing colorectal cancer notably increases after the age of 50.
Patients with family members who have had colorectal cancer are at greater risk, particularly among first-degree relatives.
The risks involved in Colonoscopy are very low, particularly in experienced hands. There are two main risks: bleeding and perforation.
If bleeding occurs, it will typically occur 7-10 days after the procedure. The incidence rate is very low, occurring at about 1-6 in 1000 cases. It is self-limiting and can be treated conservatively.
Perforation during Colonoscopy is also very rare, occurring in less than 1 in 1000 cases.
While colonoscopy remains the most ideal, accurate and convenient option for detecting colon cancer, the following diagnostic methods can also be used:
Using a barium enema involves inserting a tube into the anus and pouring a white barium solution in, coating the lining of the colon. This allows the colonic lining to become more clearly visible on an x-ray, highlighting any abnormalities that may be present.
This procedure is seldom used now, in favour of CT Colonography.
A CT Colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, differs from Colonoscopy in that a CT scanner is used to screen for polyps in the large intestine. Here, a tube is inserted into the rectum to inflate the colon with gas while CT images of the colon and rectum are taken from various angles.
While these options also detect the presence of polyps in the colon, they are less accurate than Colonoscopy; and should polyps be found, Colonoscopy will have to be performed anyway in order to remove them.
This is why Colonoscopy is usually the most recommended diagnostic method for colon cancer. Nonetheless, we will advise you accordingly based on your needs and preferences.
A colonoscopy is a non-surgical diagnostic procedure that examines the inside of the large intestine (colon) and rectum to detect cancerous cells, polyps and other abnormalities. However, if polyps are found, it will typically be removed on the spot using a wire loop.
In Singapore, a colonoscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure, which allows the patient to return home after just a brief period of observation. Since a colonoscopy is performed under sedation, the patient is likely to feel sleepy afterwards and will need to arrange for someone to drive him or her home.
Patients who undergo a colonoscopy procedure are likely to experience no pain since sedatives or general anaesthesia is administered beforehand. This ensures that patients are either drowsy or asleep throughout the whole procedure.
Through its real-time visualization and navigation through the entire length of the colon, a colonoscopy allows doctors to detect polyps that develop on the colon’s lining. A colonoscopy can also detect other conditions such as colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulosis.
You will have to take some strong laxatives before the procedure, so that the colon is thoroughly cleared and the colonoscopy can proceed smoothly.
About three days before your scheduled colonoscopy, eat only low-fibre foods and light meals. On the day of, or before, your colonoscopy, you will be on a clear-liquid diet. All of this is to ensure your colon is kept as clear as possible in time for the colonoscopy.
Light meals, ample hydration, non-spicy food and food that is easy to digest are recommended. These include soup, chicken or fish, or cooked vegetables. If you had a polyp removed during the colonoscopy, your doctor may provide further dietary instructions for you.
We tailor our treatments based on your lifestyle requirements and healthcare needs. At our colorectal clinic, we believe in providing personalized care as it allows for better surgical outcomes and creates a supportive environment for our patients.
For a detailed consultation, contact us at 6262 1226 or fill up the contact form below.