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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer - How to prevent?

Regular screening is the best way to detect colorectal polyps or cancer early. In Singapore, the recommended age of screening for colorectal cancer is 50 years old for individuals with no symptoms. Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer are advised to start screening earlier.

Routine screening tests include:

  • Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) (yearly)
    • Blood in the stool may be an early sign of colorectal cancer. FIT is used to detect the presence of human blood in the stool. If blood is found, additional tests can confirm the source of the blood and if it is cancer.
  • Colonoscopy (every 5-10 years)      
    • During this procedure the colon and rectum are examined using a special flexible camera inserted through the anus. It allows the removal of small polyps and biopsy of any abnormal areas.

In addition to regular screening, a healthy lifestyle may help to prevent colorectal cancer. This includes:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting the consumption of fat.
  • Quitting or not starting smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Regular exercise.

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