Whilst the ‘c’ word is always a frightening one, no form of cancer is more gut-wrenching than colon cancer. Colon cancer refers to cancer of the large intestine; it often starts out with benign clumps of cells forming within the intestine, which over time may develop to become cancerous.
One of the scariest things about colon cancer is that it is often symptomless. This is why regular screening is recommended as a matter of course for everyone. In many areas colon cancer is the most common form of cancer, and this includes Singapore, with two people dying every day from the disease. If you are looking for colon cancer screening in Singapore, there are professional medical centres available who specialise in the analysis, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Small symptoms to watch out for include blood in the stool, which can be indicative of the disease. Likewise, any abnormal changes in bowl habits, lumps in the abdomen, as well as pains in the abdomen, can signify a problem that needs to be checked out. If you go for a blood test and find your red blood cell count is low, this can also be a warning sign for the disease.
The risk of colon cancer has been shown to significantly increase with age, which means that aging is a key cause. A family history of the disease has also been shown to increase risk, which means it may be hereditary. On top of this there are many lifestyle choices with can increase the risk of colon cancer. Those who do not live an active lifestyle are often more susceptible to forming colon cancer, which is why it is important to remain fit and healthy into old age. Diet can also be a key contributing factor, as obesity has been linked to the disease. This means that you should avoid high fat diets – especially in relation to animal fats. As well as this, those who smoke or drink alcohol have also been shown to contract the disease more often.
There have also been studies which show your heritage may predispose you to the disease, with those of Chinese descent being at greater risk of forming colon cancer. On top of this, those with the inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, should take particular care to be tested regularly as this can encourage the disease to form, as should those who have a high presence of cell clumps in their colon, known as adenomatous polyps.
Many people are put off by the concept of a colonoscopy, but the reality is that this is a very short and simple process that trained doctors carry out every single day, so it is nothing to be embarrassed about. It is painless, too, so there should be no excuses as an early diagnosis can literally save your life.
If you have any symptoms or any predisposal to the disease, then you should book a screening today. The likelihood is that you will be clear, but it is always better to be safe than sorry – especially with such a common form of cancer. You should always follow up with regular screenings, too.