Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is a major health concern. According to the National University Cancer Institute Singapore, colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Singapore, with more than 1,800 cases annually. However, the good news is that it is also highly preventable through regular screening. One of the most effective screening methods is a colonoscopy.
Who Should Get
Colonoscopy Screening?

The recommended age to begin colon cancer screening is 50 for low-risk individuals. However, certain factors can increase the risk, and some patients may need to start screening earlier or undergo more frequent screenings. Here is a breakdown of some major risk factors:

  • Family History of Colon Cancer

    Having a close relative (parent, sibling, child) with colon cancer significantly increases the risk. If someone in your immediate family has been diagnosed with colon cancer, especially at a younger age (under 50), you should consult with your doctor about starting screening earlier than 50.

  • Personal History of IBD

    IBD, or chronic inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease can raise your risk of colon cancer. The risk typically increases with the duration and severity of the disease. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor will advise you on the appropriate screening schedule.

  • Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

    Certain lifestyle choices can contribute to colon cancer risk. Smoking is a major risk factor, as it damages the cells in the colon and rectum. A diet low in fibre and high in red meat can also increase cancer risk. Fibre helps move waste through your digestive system, and red meat has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. For heavy smokers and those who have unhealthy diets, it is advisable to consult with a doctor about strategies to reduce cancer risk, and whether there is a need to start screening earlier.

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