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Colorectal Cancer Screening at the Age of 50

3 June 2020

 

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among Malaysians from 2011 to 2016. Majority are being diagnosed after 50 years old.

It is the most common cancer affecting males and second most common cancer among females.

LATE STAGE COLON CANCER PRESENTS WITH SYMPTOMS BELOW:

                                EARLY STAGE: NO SYMPTOMS

At the stage of polyp or early cancer, they have NO SYMPTOMS.

From Polyp to Cancer

10 YEARS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIND THEM AND REMOVE THEM BEFORE SYMPTOMS APPEAR

From the natural history, we know that most of the colorectal cancers develop from a small polyp (5-10 millimeter) over 10 years. They generally DO NOT CAUSE symptoms when they are small.

Intuitively, it gives us an adequate time to detect and remove them early before they turn cancerous. Removing the polyp early prevents cancer.

THE BEST WAY TO FIND A POLYP AND EARLY CANCER:

                             COLONOSCOPY

  • 20-30 minutes
  • Low risk and safe procedure
  • Sedation is given to ensure patient’s comfort
  • Radiation free
  • Accurate procedure for polyp and cancer detection

OTHER TEST :

Stool: test for tiny bit of blood in the stool.

CT Scan for colon

*risk of radiation to the colon

There are several ways to examine if you have a colon polyp. Colonoscopy is the best way to screen and remove them in the same setting. It is also radiation free.

What is Colonoscopy?

A long tube with a camera at one end to examine the large bowel, inserting from anus upwards to the whole colon.

Performed by an experienced operator, colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure. It takes around 20-30 minutes to complete the procedure. Sedation is given during the procedure to ensure that the client remains comfortable.

What can we find in the colon during colonoscopy?

See and detect better with high definition (HD).

High-definition and high-resolution colonoscopes available in Sri Kota Specialist Medical Center improves the quality of cancer screening.

Diagnose better with Narrow Band Imaging

By having a Narrow Band Imaging (NBI) in the same scope system, a trained colonoscopist can predict the type of polyps on the spot and decide on the treatment.

Even if you have no symptoms, once you reach the age of 45-50 years, enrolling yourself into colonoscopy screening and surveillance programme reduces your risk of colorectal cancer to 0.1%.

It would be the best gift that you can give yourself or your family member once they turn 50 years old. This may save their life.

ALTERNATIVELY, a Stool test

Alternatively, the second-best way to screen colorectal cancer is to test your stool for a tiny amount of blood in Sri Kota Specialist Medical Center. It is not as good as colonoscopy but remains as an effective, economic and convenient substitute of colonoscopy.

This test should be done yearly after 50 years old.

If you have any question, please see your general practitioner or see one of us in Sri Kota Specialist Medical Center for further explanation.

 

Article by: Dr. Gew Lai Teck

Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist