According to the current screening guidelines for colorectal cancer released by the Ministry of Health Singapore, there are 3 risk categories, namely average risk individual, increased risk individual and high risk individual. A direct family member of a patient with colon cancer is an increased risk individual.
If the patient with colon cancer (your family member) was diagnosed before the age of 60 years, you are recommended to undergo colonoscopy once very 5 years starting at an age 10 years before the patient developed the cancer.
For example, if your family member developed colon cancer at the age of 55 years, you should start undergoing colonoscopy from the age of 45 years. You should undergo colonoscopy and not stool occult blood test or CT scan as you at increased risk for colorectal cancer.
However, if you develop any symptom suspicious for colorectal cancer, such as blood in the stools, persistent change in your bowel habit for more than 2 weeks or mucus in the stools, you should consult your doctor even if you are younger than the recommended age for screening.
The full cancer screening guideline by MOH can be accessed at the reference link below.Please refer to page 29 for the table which summarizes the recommendations for colorectal cancer screening.
Dr Jit Fong LimLim Jit Fong Colorectal Centre
MBBS (Singapore), FRCS (Glasgow), FAMS (Singapore)
Gleneagles Medical Centre
6 Napier Road #09-09