Colorectal cancer tops the list of cancer that affects numerous Singaporeans. While this disease is one of the highly treatable types of cancer when detected at an early stage, there are cases where the colorectal cancer is not discovered until it has progressed and a person is already experiencing symptoms of its existence. Colorectal cancer can happen to anyone at any point in life, regardless of ethnicity. To ensure that your digestive tract is healthy and free from this disease, it is important to choose the right colonoscopy clinic in Singapore to get your health checked.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a disease that affects the large intestines, particularly the colon and rectum. The colon is the large intestine’s main part, while the rectum serves as a passage that joins the main part of the large intestine to the anus.
There are certain risks that can influence an individual’s chances of developing colorectal cancer. These are:
- Age — Colorectal cancer is common among older adults that are over 50 years old.
- Diet — High consumption of alcohol, processed food and red meat, as well as meat that has been cooked at high temperatures are believed to influence the development of colorectal cancer.
- Ethnicity — In Singapore specifically, colorectal cancer is high among people of Chinese descent.
- Family history — Familial polyposis is a kind of colorectal cancer that may be passed on in the family. This disease is identified by colorectal polyps that grow in the colon at a young age. People who have a family history of colorectal cancer are encouraged to get regular cancer screenings to monitor their colon health as their chances of developing colorectal cancer are higher (~80 to 100%).
- Lifestyle — Having less exercise and other physical activities slows down the body’s process of releasing waste, which can increase the risk of getting colorectal cancer.
- Other underlying medical conditions — Other diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, intestinal polyps, and ulcerative colitis, may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer rarely shows any symptoms during its earlier stage. Below are signs to look out for:
- Bleeding in the rectum or blood in stools
- Discomfort that is felt persistently in the abdominal area (e.g. gas, cramps, or pain)
- Sudden change in bowel movement habits (e.g. having constipation and diarrhea)
- Unexplained loss of weight
Why does it matter that you choose the right colonoscopy clinic in Singapore for colorectal cancer screening?
A colonoscopy procedure is a critical step in detecting signs in the colon that may lead to colorectal cancer. Choosing a clinic that is equipped with gold standard equipment and a medical specialist that is an expert in this area is crucial for the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of colorectal cancer.
One decisive factor that can have a great influence on the outcome of detecting colorectal cancer is the type of doctor carrying out the colonoscopy procedure. General surgeons can perform colonoscopy procedures, but it is not a guarantee that they specialize in colorectal cancer.
So, what kind of doctor should perform a colonoscopy specifically for colorectal cancer concerns?
A gastroenterologist and colorectal surgeon are the best medical practitioners that can perform colonoscopies for detecting colorectal cancer. A study published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal showed that gastroenterologists who handled colonoscopies greatly helped in lowering a patient’s risk of dying from the disease as compared to others whose screening was done by other doctors who did not specialize in gastroenterology.
How do you choose the right colonoscopy clinic in Singapore?
Choosing the right colonoscopy clinic in Singapore may be overwhelming for some, especially when there are several clinics offering colonoscopy services. Here are some tips on how you can narrow down your options and finally land a clinic that is fit for you:
1 Consider the doctor’s specialization.
Gastroenterologists have a greater knowledge when it comes to detecting symptoms of colorectal cancer.s
2 Confirm the doctor’s board certification
It is critical that the doctor that you choose for your colonoscopy procedure has undergone extensive training or a fellowship program that specializes in gastroenterology. Aside from this qualification, it is also imperative that the doctor has passed examinations and his/her certifications are not obsolete.
3 Check if the doctor does “continuing education”
Continuing education in medical practice keeps practitioners up to date with the latest advancements and knowledge in certain specializations. Doctors who complete continuing education courses annually have more skills and training in giving utmost care for patients.
4 Clinic hygiene and safety
Colonoscopy is an invasive procedure and the risk of infection is high. Hence, it is a must that you choose a clinic that implements strict protocols when it comes to hygiene and safety.
5 Gold standard colonoscopy equipment and facility
Performing a safe and effective colonoscopy procedure involves the use of several devices and equipment, such as:
- Device for administering anesthetic and other medications
- Endoscopy equipment
- Imaging equipment
- Monitoring device
- Procedure-specific scopes
- Video monitor
- Storage for equipment
6 Medical Insurance
Having medical insurance is helpful in keeping colonoscopy procedure costs affordable. Be sure to find a clinic that accepts the type of insurance plan that you have to be able to qualify for deductibles and other coverage stipulated in your plan.
7 Various options for screening packages
Finding a colonoscopy clinic that offers various screening packages lessens the time and effort that you need in figuring out which procedures or tests you should take to get tested for colorectal cancer.
When should you go to a colonoscopy clinic in Singapore?
If your risk of developing colorectal cancer is high, it is encouraged that you make an initial appointment with a reputable colonoscopy clinic in Singapore like Alpine Surgical. Do not wait for symptoms to happen before you decide to see a specialist. On the other hand, if your risks are low, but you are bothered by persistent discomforts in the abdominal area and have signs similar to colorectal cancer, make an appointment as soon as possible, so your condition can be properly assessed and screened.
Alpine Surgical Practice
3 Mount Elizabeth #17-16
+65 6589 8927