Colon cancer occurs when malignant tumours develop in the large intestine (colon). The large intestine is the last part of the digestive tract responsible for absorbing water from solid food waste and forming stool.
Colon cancer is known for being asymptomatic in its early stages, with symptoms becoming noticeable in the more advanced stages:
Here are some factors that increase one’s risk of developing colon cancer:
Early detection is the most important key to preventing colon cancer. Colon cancer screening is best
done through a colonoscopy, in which long, thin tube attached to a light and camera is inserted
through the anus and through the colon to check for abnormalities such as polyps.
A colonoscopy should be performed every 10 years once a person reaches 50 for lower-risk individuals; and earlier and more frequently for higher-risk individuals as advised by the colorectal surgeon.
Rectal cancer occurs when cancer cells develop in the rectum. The rectum is the last part of the large bowel that connects the colon to the anus.
Colon and rectum cancers are collectively known as colorectal cancer in Singapore, given that both organs’ structure and functions can be affected regardless from which organ the cancer first originated.
Like colon cancer, rectal cancer has no obvious symptoms in its early stages, but will manifest similar symptoms as it progresses into the advanced stages.
Its risk factors are also similar to that of colon cancer.
In terms of prevention, apart from undergoing routine colorectal cancer screening, certain lifestyle and dietary changes can reduce one’s risk, such as: