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In the Singapore Cancer Registry Report 2018, Colorectal Cancer continues to be the Number 1 Cancer for both males and females combined. Despite national efforts, many of the Colorectal cancers (>60%)are still diagnosed at advanced stages of III and IV.
Modifiable Risk factors of Colorectal Cancer
  1. Increases Risk
    • Obesity
    • Red/Processed meat
    • Alcohol
    • Smoking
    • High Glycemic Diet
  2. Decrease Risk

Physical Activity

Being Active helps reduce cancer risk by helping with weight control. There are additional benefits to reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes too.
Latest recommendations for adults is to do 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or a combination.
  • Moderate activities - activities that make you breathe hard eg brisk walking, biking or housework or gardening.
  • Vigorous activities - makes use of large muscle groups and makes your heart beat faster, breathe faster and also make you sweat.

Eating Well

  • Adopt healthy eating patterns and we may suggest:
  • Fill your plate with colourful vegetables, beans and whole grains.
  • Choose fish, poultry or beans as protein sources instead of red or processed meats.
  • Prepare food by baking, broiling, poaching instead of frying or charbroiling.
  • For high calorie food eg French fries, potatoes, chips, ice cream, doughnuts and sweets, do not eat frequently and to eat smaller portions of these.
  • Limit use of creamy sauces, dressing and dips
Adopt Regular Colonoscopy Screening
Colonoscopy screening aims to look for cancers at an early stage, or to detect polyps before they become cancers. Polyps typically take almost 10 years to become colorectal cancers and with regular screening, polyps can be found and removed.
Ministry of Health Guidelines in Singapore suggest to start screening at 50 years or older for those with no risk factors. American Cancer Society guidelines have recently suggested to start screening at age 45 years and older in view of an observed incidence of younger colorectal cancers. Screening is encouraged once every 10 years.
An increased risk is observed if first degree relatives (sibling, parents) have colorectal cancer or if you have a personal history of colonic polyps especially large ones (>1cm).
There are certain factors to bear in mind:
Screening to start at:- (whichever is earlier)
  • 10 years earlier than age of diagnosis of of cancer in first degree relative
  • 40 years old (if first degree relative had cancer < 60 years old)
  • 50 years old (if first degree relative had cancer > 60 years old)
Screening frequency in an increased risk patient is recommended once every 5-10 years if the first colonoscopy is normal If polyps are detected, frequency of colonoscopy may be shorter.
Do discuss with us on colorectal cancer prevention and the alternatives of screening tools.
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