Asia has gained immense popularity across the globe for providing modern and high quality patient care. One of the countries that have become a leading medical destination in Asia is Singapore.
International patients come to Singapore each year for a wide spectrum of medical care; from health screenings to top-notch surgical procedures in area of specialties, including oncology, neurology, paediatrics, cardiology and even organ transplants.
Cancer procedures, consultations and therapies have been one of the services medical institutions in Singapore offer. As one of the most common types of cancer in the country, and also worldwide, colorectal cancer affects many individuals, prompting for the need of immediate care and treatment. If you seek a treatment for colorectal cancer in Singapore, here’s some important things you need to know about the disease.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer occurs when tumor cells proliferate uncontrollably in the lower digestive tract including the colon and rectum.
Normally, food moves through the stomach and small intestine into the colon during digestion. The colon helps in absorbing nutrients and water from food. It stores waster matter or stool, where it will be expelled by the rectum.
However, when the cells in the colon grow uncontrollably, they might mutate and form malignant cells. Most colorectal cancers are called adenocarcinomas, which are tumors that start in cells that make and release mucus.
Colorectal Cancer Causes
The exact cause of colorectal cancer is still unclear. However, doctors believe that this type of cancer occurs when healthy cells in the lower digestive tract become altered and their DNA become erroneous.
This results in healthy cells continue to grow and divide. When these cells collect, they form a tumor. A familial history of cancer also increases the risk of a person acquiring colorectal cancer. Inherited gene mutations can be passed in families.
Moreover, diet has also been linked to an increased colorectal cancer risk. Studies have shown that consuming a typical Western diet can increase the risk of colorectal cancer since it is low in fiber and high in fat.
Colorectal Cancer By The Numbers
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, in 2012, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer across the globe, with about 1.4 million new cases diagnosed.
An estimated 95 percent of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. The Republic of Korea had the highest rate of colorectal cancer while Singapore ranked 16th worldwide. It is now the most common type of cancer in Singapore with 9,324 cases diagnosed from 2010 to 2014.
Three Most Common Colorectal Cancer Treatment
Surgery is the most popular and common treatment for colorectal cancer in Singapore. It entails the removal of the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue. Also dubbed as surgical resection, it also involves the removal of part of the colon or rectum. Sometimes, even surrounding lymph nodes are removed to prevent the spread of the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy may be initiated after the removal of the tumor, especially if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. It uses drugs to fight and kill cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy
Lastly, radiation therapy is also commonly used in treating colorectal cancer. It involves using powerful energy sources to kill cancer cells that remain after surgical removal of the tumor. It can also be used to shrink large tumors before the surgery.
Colorectal cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease. Thus, it’s important to detect the tumor early, so that treatment options can be initiated immediately. This will prevent further spread of cancer to the other parts of the body.