Is it worth having a colonoscopy as part of a thorough health screening check in Singapore?Gastroenterology Cancer Colorectal Surgery
I was offered a panel of health screening tests. I would appreciate advice if it’s worth having a colonoscopy as part of a thorough health check, even if I do not have any symptoms meriting the colonoscopy.
If you are above the age of 45, or have a positive family history, it is important to consider a colonoscopy as part of your routine health screening.
This is because colorectal cancer is the number 1 cancer in Singapore and more often than not begins as a polyp. Polyps are small and have no symptoms. The only way to remove polyps is through a colonoscopy.
The detection and removal of polyps would certainly help one determine his risk factor for developing colon cancer (serves as a guide as to how frequent the colon should be checked), as well as prevent the person from actually developing the cancer when the polyp is removed.
It is worth nothing also that majority of colorectal cancers diagnosed after the development of symptoms is often in the advanced stages of disease. Therefore, one should take that into consideration when deciding whether to screen for polyps and cancers prior to the development of symptoms.
If you are still undecided, a faecal occult blood test is an alternative to test for unseen blood in your stools. While it is not foolproof, it serves as a good impetus for one to undergo a colonoscopy as soon as possible if the test if positive.
Dr Jason Lim
MBBS, MRCS (Ed), M Med(Surg), FRCS (Ed), FAMS
MOUNT ELIZABETH NOVENA SPECIALIST CENTRE
#05 - 49 Singapore 329563
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