Screen regularly for colorectal cancer
Singapore Cancer Society will be distributing free FIT kits starting from March.
The Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) will be distributing Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kits at no charge to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents aged 50 years old and above, to encourage them to go for regular screening and follow up. SCS’s effort is part of its 17th annual Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month campaign, which will start from March 1, 2018.
The FIT helps to screen for small amounts of blood in a person’s stools which may be due to various causes, for example, polyps or colorectal cancer. The FIT is a simple, non-invasive screening test which can be self-administered in the privacy of one’s own home, and does not require any fasting or changes to the individual’s diet. Where blood is detected in the stools, further tests will be advised to confirm the condition.
In last year’s SCS FIT screening service, more than 69,000 Singaporeans screened for colorectal cancer and 5,070 individuals were tested positive for blood in their stool.
Colorectal cancer is Singapore’s top diagnosed cancer amongst those aged 50 and above. However, only about two in five (or 36.7 percent) individuals who are 50 to 69 years go for colorectal cancer screening at the recommended frequency. In Singapore, colorectal cancer accounts for 17 percent of cancers in males and 13 percent in females. The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer may be attributed to lifestyle-related risk factors such as lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking and high alcohol consumption.
Colorectal cancer is preventable and this can be achieved via regular screening. When signs of pre-cancer or cancer growths are detected in the early stages, the chances of recovery and survival are much higher for the individual.
Dr Chee Cheng Ean, SCS Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) Steering Committee 2018 chairperson and medical oncologist from National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS), said: “Colorectal cancer is the number 1 diagnosed cancer in Singapore. Sadly, screening for colorectal cancer which has shown to save lives is not widely adopted in Singapore. Both men and women can get colorectal cancer. If you are 50 or older or have a family history of colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened. You can beat colorectal cancer with screening!”
To get screened, the FIT kit will be made available at SCS distribution partners which include all 20 polyclinics under the National Healthcare Group, SingHealth and National University polyclinics, as well as 70 selected Guardian Health & Beauty Stores, 30 Watsons Personal Care Stores, 40 Eu Yan Sang Stores and SCS main office at Enggor Street and its Multi-Service Centre & Screening Clinic in Bishan. For a more detailed list, go to: www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg)
As part of SCS Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month campaign, there will also be events including a colorectal cancer month awareness roadshow on March 24 from 9am to 3pm at Woodlands Civic Centre and a colorectal cancer public forum at KTPH on April 24 from 9am to 5pm in English and Mandarin.