Colorectal Cancer
in Singapore

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 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.

Screening and Prevention
of Colon and Rectal Cancer
Who should go for screening for colon and rectal cancer?
  • Anyone with no symptoms and more than 50 years of age
  • Anyone who has a family history of colon and rectal cancer
What are the recommended screening tests for colon and rectal cancer?
  • Testing stool for hidden blood
  • Colonoscopy
  • Barium enema
  • CT scan
What are the advantages and disadvantages of testing stool for hidden blood?
  • Advantages: Cheap, non-invasive
  • Disadvantages: Need to repeat the test every year, false negativity and false positivity
What are the advantages and disadvantages of colonoscopy?
  • Advantages: Ability to remove polyps at the same time, only need to repeat colonoscopy after 5 to 10 years
  • Disadvantages: More expensive and invasive than a stool test.
Colon and Rectal Cancer
Screening of colorectal cancer is only for people with no symptoms at all. People with symptoms suggestive of colon and rectal cancer should see a Singapore colorectal surgeon for a colonoscopy.
Colorectal
What are the Symptoms
of Colorectal Cancer?
  • Irregular bowel habit
  • Increasing constipation
  • Frequent diarrhoea
  • Change in bowel habit
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Sensation of incomplete bowel motion
  • Abdominal pain
What are the Treatment Options
for Colorectal Cancer?
01
Surgery

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.

02
Chemotherapy

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.

03
Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is usually performed before 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.

Dr Ng Kheng Hong
Dr Ng Kheng Hong
Senior Consultant Colorectal & General Surgeon
MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Surgery), FRCS (Edinburgh),
FAMS (General Surgery)
Dr Ng Kheng Hong has over 20 years of experience in the prevention, detection and treatment of colorectal cancer in Singapore. A former Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Department of Colorectal Surgery at SGH and former Visiting Consultant in Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre, Dr Ng is a well-regarded figure in his field. Dr Ng has also published in many medical journals and continues to teach medical students to this day.
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