Colorectal cancer is the cancer of the large intestine. It is currently the most common cancer in Singapore and the incidence is still increasing at alarming rate. There are approximately 1500 new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer in Singapore every year, affecting mainly people more than 50 years of age. Screening for colorectal cancer is the most effective way of prevention of this disease. Though the exact cause of colon and rectal cancer is still unknown, it can be attributed to the appearance of small growths in the lining of the large intestine called polyps. These colon and rectal polyps take more than 3 to 5 years to become cancerous. Prevention of colon and rectal cancer can be achieved if these polyps are detected early and removed.
Surgery is the first line of treatment for early stages of colon and rectal cancer. Cure can be achieved with surgery in early stages of colon and rectal cancer. Various surgical options are available, such as traditional open surgery, keyhole surgery, single port surgery and robotic surgery.
Chemotherapy can be given before surgery for late stages of colon and rectal cancer. Chemotherapy helps to reduce the size and severity of the cancer. As a result, the surgery for colon and rectal cancer can be performed with less complications and more thoroughly.
Radiotherapy is usually performed before colorectal surgery for very late stage of rectal cancer. Radiotherapy is given together with chemotherapy in this situation to reduce the size and severity of the cancer.