Treatment of Early-Stage Colorectal Cancer is associated with excellent outcome achieving cure in many cases. However, many colorectal cancers are diagnosed at a later stage.
Increasing awareness and promoting Screening programs have been shown to increase early-stage detection. Screening is also to detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps which if removed, may prevent cancer from developing.
Screening for Colorectal Cancer is directed at:
‘Screening’ means to subject an Individual who has no symptoms or complaints for a test to look for or rule-out a disease or early signs of the disease. An individual who has symptoms and signs undergoes ‘investigation’ (not screening) of a disease.
General population screening for Colorectal Cancer is recommended in most countries where healthcare systems are well developed. While the cost-benefit of population screening is contentious in less developed economies, the Screening of Increased-Risk populations is undoubtedly worthwhile and recommended.
Colonoscopy Screening is especially recommended for people who belong to ‘Increased-Risk’ Groups. This includes individuals with a family history of Colorectal cancer (especially first-degree relatives), a personal or family history of polyps.
There are a few tests available for screening of Colorectal Cancer, of varying degrees of ease, complexity, and accuracy.
Risk of ‘Missed Lesions’
Although the colonoscopy is likely the ‘best test’ for screening and diagnosing colon lesions, there is still a chance of missing lesions. This rate is about 6%, no matter how diligent the endoscopist conducting the procedure is. Many factors can reduce the accuracy of the scope including inadequate cleanliness of the bowel, diverticular disease, lesions in the ascending and sigmoid colon, lesions at the flexures, inadequate sedation, long loopy colons, flat lesions, lesions behind folds and inadequate distension of the colon, among others. Careful withdrawal and hence, careful inspection of the colon and a minimum cecal withdrawal time of at least 6 minutes is recommended.
Patients who continue to have suspicious symptoms even after a recent ‘normal’ colonoscopy are advised to consult their doctors and, sometimes, a repeat scope may be required in persisting, unexplained symptoms.
Medical expenses are a concern for many patients. It can, sometimes, be overwhelming to deal with the various health insurances, especially if this is your first encounter. Our staff will assist you with the administrative part of your insurance, as far as possible. Dr Teoh is on the panel for the following Integrated Shield Plans : NTUC, AIA, Great Eastern (GE), Singlife (Aviva), AXA. We are also willing to assist with any other insurer, Local or International.Read More