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Posts tagged ‘Colorectal cancer’

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month returns in March

Faecal occult blood test kit. (TODAY Photo)

 

Younger Singaporeans have been urged to encourage their loved ones above the age of 50 to go for colorectal cancer screenings.

SINGAPORE: Younger Singaporeans have been urged to encourage their loved ones above the age of 50 to go for colorectal cancer screenings.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month returns this March and the campaign’s organisers, the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), want to highlight that the risk increases for those over 50.

The SCS will also be teaming up with Moulmein-Kallang GRC to educate their residents about the disease.

As part of the campaign, free colorectal screening kits will be distributed at all SingHealth and National Healthcare Group Polyclinics next month.

They will also be made available at SCS offices at Bishan and Realty Centre, as well as 73 selected Guardian Health and Beauty Outlets.

Dr Cheong Wai Kit, chairman of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign, said he had four important messages – that colorectal cancer is a number one cancer in Singapore among men and women; that colorectal cancer can be prevented through screening; if the cancer is detected early through screening, it can be cured; and that screening saves lives.

– CNA/de

via Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month returns in March – Channel NewsAsia.

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Flush those colonoscopy fears

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Opening up: Colon cancer survivor Danielle Ripley-Burgess supports an organisation that takes an educational exhibit on colon cancer, on the road. – MCT photos

Just a few weeks after her 17th birthday, Danielle Ripley-Burgess was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Today, at 30, she’s a wife and mother doing what she can to get people talking about what she once feared.

 

SHE couldn’t tell her mum that something was wrong because it was way too embarrassing.

She didn’t even like to walk down the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store.

So when Danielle Ripley-Burgess, 30, of Lee’s Summit, Montana, was in junior high school and began finding blood in the toilet after going to the bathroom, “I didn’t say anything about it for a long, long time. I was mortified.”

When she finally did, she and her mum, at first, did their own research on the Internet and figured that because Danielle was so young, the problem had to be something benign, like haemorrhoids.

Wrong.

Just a few weeks after her 17th birthday in 2001, she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, going from prom plans to hospital stays in the blink of an eye.

Today, at 30, she’s a wife and mother running a marketing firm – Semicolon Communications, wink, wink – and doing what she can to get people talking about what she once feared.

 

A 40-foot-long informational model of a colon that young and old can crawl through is featured at New Summit Church, 1800 N.E. Independence Ave., in Lee's Summit, Mo., Dec. 14, 2013.

A 12m-long informational model of a colon that young and old can crawl through.

 

Gut in a truck

She’s not above using props, either. Big ones. In early December, she arranged to have a 12m-long crawl-through model of a colon trucked into town.

The message? Being afraid to talk about what happens in the bathroom could kill you.

Colorectal cancer is the second-most deadly cancer, but the majority of cases are preventable with the use of a common screening procedure called a colonoscopy.

Precancerous growths found during a colonoscopy – recommended every 10 years beginning at 50 – can be removed on the spot. That’s important because those growths, or polyps, can stick around in your colon for years and become full-blown cancer.

“This is the only situation in all of medicine where the test used to screen for a cancer is also the method for preventing that same cancer,” said Larry Geier, a genetics oncologist at the University of Kansas Cancer Center and one of Ripley-Burgess’ doctors.

“In all other situations – mammogram, Pap smear – the screening test may be effective for early detection but provides no ability to prevent the cancer itself.”

And yet, people fear the colonoscopy. Statistics show that only half of Americans older than 50 have ever had one, or any other type of colorectal cancer screening process.

The ick factor is high. Here are the excuses patients give Geier.

“I don’t like the idea of a doctor sticking a scope up my rectum. I am too modest for that.”

“I hear the preparation for the test is very difficult, and I don’t want to do that.”

“I am not having any symptoms, therefore I don’t have cancer.”

“I just don’t have time for that.”

“I have heard each of these reasons too many times over the years, and none of them are worth taking the chance, or what I consider to be playing ‘Russian roulette’ with your colon,” Dr Geier said.

Only 10% of all people diagnosed with the disease are younger than 50.

But while cases of colon cancer among adults 50 and older are falling, rates among younger adults like Ripley-Burgess are rising, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance.

“There is definitely a trend toward younger age at the time of diagnosis of colon cancer over the last two decades,” Geier said. “Changes in diet, better screening and more awareness of early symptoms may each have a role, but still don’t provide adequate explanation.”

What happened to Ripley-Burgess was rare. She was diagnosed with colon cancer at 17 and again at 25, when all but a foot of her large intestine had to be removed.

“I have to be careful with what I eat, when I eat.” No big chilli dogs for lunch, for example. “It’s normal for me now.”

It was her bad luck to be, Geier put it, “genetically programmed” to develop colon cancer at such a young age. She has a genetic trait known as Lynch syndrome, which affects about one in every four to five Americans and is largely underdiagnosed.

 

A 40-foot-long informational model of a colon that young and old can crawl through is featured Dec. 14, 2013, at New Summit Church in Lee's Summit, Mo. (Fred Blocher/Kansas City Star/MCT)

Spreading awareness: The colon truck.

 

Colon Club

After her second diagnosis, Ripley-Burgess happened upon the national non-profit Colon Club, a group dedicated to raising awareness of colorectal cancer in out-of-the-box ways. Club founder Molly McMaster was diagnosed with colon cancer on her 23rd birthday.

Five years ago, Ripley-Burgess posed for the club’s Colondar, a calendar featuring colon cancer survivors younger than 50. She was Miss October 2009.

She now runs the club’s website and uses social media to talk about colons with the public. She has her own lessons to share, like this one: don’t substitute Internet research for a medical diagnosis.

“That’s definitely a piece of my story as well as others,” she said.

“While it’s good to be informed, don’t skip going to the doctor because you Googled.”

Those are big words coming from someone who, as a little girl, was disgusted at the thought of someday marrying a boy and – ewwwww – “pooping” in the same house.

“This is a very comfortable subject now,” she said.

Colon cancer warning signs include:

> Blood in the stool (frequently not visible to the naked eye), a change in stool habits, a gradual decrease in the size of the stool, increasing abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss.

Those symptoms are much more likely to occur when the tumour is in the rectum or the very last part of the colon. Cancers that are higher up in the colon frequently don’t signal their presence with these symptoms until the tumour is quite large. That’s why screening for the cancer when there are no symptoms is critical.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should tell their doctor.

 

Navigating a colonoscopy

You’ve heard the horror stories about colon cancer, now play the game and put (some) fun into this common screening procedure.

“They’re going to do what?!” – During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube lets the doctor see the inside of the entire colon. Takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Move forward two spaces.

“Will I miss work?” – Schedule two days of me-time: One for the prep – you have to empty out your colon so the doctor can get a clear view – and one for the outpatient procedure itself. Fail at the prep and you might have to do it all over again. Roll again.

“I’m scared.” – Visit TheGreatBowel-Movement.org for preparation tips and advice. Your innards will thank you for it. Jump ahead two.

“What if they find something?” – Precancerous growths found during the procedure can be removed immediately; small amounts of tissue can be removed for later biopsy. Skip ahead two.

No way I’m doing this!” – About half of Americans age 50 and older get any kind of screening for colorectal cancer, colonoscopy or otherwise. Nearly 20,000 lives could be saved each year if that rate rose to 90, 95%. Skip a screening, shame on you. Lose a turn.

“Can I eat?” – For about 24 hours before the procedure you’ll follow a clear-liquid diet – no dairy, nothing with red dyes – and drink up to a gallon of a laxative solution typically mixed with lemon-lime Gatorade. The bright side? Your insides will be squeaky clean. Move forward one space.

“Bottoms up!” – That Gatorade cocktail will go down a lot easier if you chill it in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Check natural-foods markets for other flavoured drinks that don’t contain red dyes. Roll again.

“I’m gagging here.” – That prep stuff doesn’t go down easy. If it makes you sick, wait 30 minutes before drinking more and take small sips. If you can’t keep it down, tell your doctor. Gulp, and move forward two.

“I’m … so … hungry!” – Carbonated drinks sodas and frozen desserts without dairy – ice pops popsicles and Italian ice – can trick your empty stomach into feeling full while you fast. Ask your doctor which ones you can have. “Liquid diet” doesn’t mean you have to stick with chicken broth, either. Try flavourful miso soup; just strain out the noodles and dried seaweed. Move forward one space.

“Feelin’ the burn now.” – Yes, your fanny will pay a price. There’s no avoiding it. Skip the toilet paper and soothe your bum with disposable wet wipes you’ve chilled in the fridge. Ahhhhh. Vaseline, Desitin and Calmoseptine ointment, used for diaper rash, can soothe the sting, too. Double ahhhhh. Move forward two.

“Bowels. Moving.” – Schedule a movie marathon (skip the popcorn), catch up on your favourite TV show on Netflix, snuggle with the dog. You can play Words With Friends or online trivia games such as Sporcle in the bathroom. (No one will know.) Move forward one space.

“I’m so done with this.” – OK, OK. Your colon is clean now. Time for the procedure. Move ahead one.

“This wasn’t so hard.” – A colonoscopy is typically done under general anaesthesia. Afterward, you might feel some cramping or the sensation of having gas, but it won’t last long. Move ahead one.

“Driver, the car!” – You did it. And if you were smart, you took someone with you to drive you home. Spoil yourself with a nap, but make sure a family member or loved one is with you in case complications arise. — The Kansas City Star/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

 

> Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Cancer Society, Cleveland Clinic,FightColorectalCancer.org. and TheGreatBowelMovement.org.

 

via Flush those colonoscopy fears – Health | The Star Online.

Survey finds only 3 in 10 up to date with colorectal cancer screening

nuh-national-university
National University Hospital

A national survey looking at colorectal cancer screening behaviour in Singapore revealed only three in 10 respondents were up to date with their screening.

SINGAPORE: A national survey that looked at colorectal cancer screening behaviour in Singapore has revealed worrying screening rates.

The survey involved 1743 individuals with the mean age of 61.3 years.

While almost nine in 10 of the respondents agreed that screening could help detect colorectal cancer at an early stage and save lives, only three in 10 were up to date with their screening.

The survey also found one of the factors that made people put off screening is the fear of finding out they have cancer.

Doctors said this is worrying as colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore.

According to Reuben Wong, a consultant at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the National University Hospital (NUH), other barriers such as the misconception about the cost of screening deter people from seeking an early detection for colorectal cancer as well.

Mr Wong explains: “First of all was this misconception that screening is expensive. A lot of people, 80 plus per cent of our respondents, believe that screening for colonoscopy was expensive both among males and females. When patients were asked about colonoscopy as a screening procedure, both men and women raised concerns about colonoscopy being a painful procedure and being potentially embarrassing.”

– CNA/gn

via Survey finds only 3 in 10 up to date with colorectal cancer screening – Channel NewsAsia.

Push to detect colorectal cancer early

SINGAPORE – More will be done by the health authorities to make sure those at risk for colorectal cancer have access to early screening.

The latest figures released by the National Registry of Diseases show a rise in the number being struck by the disease. A total of 8,459 new cases of the cancer were diagnosed between 2007 and 2011, up from the 8,206 from 2006 to 2010, figures released on Wednesday showed.

The Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) is hoping to check this trend by telling more people about the disease through its 12th Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this month.

As part of this year’s campaign, the society is aiming to distribute 65,000 free do-it-yourself (DIY) test kits, 5,000 more than it gave away last year.

Themed “Don’t flush away early detection that could save your life”, those aged 50 and above are advised to get screened.

One quick and convenient method is through a DIY faecal occult blood test (FOBT) kit, which tests for blood found in stool and which can detect the disease at an early stage.

General practitioners will also be actively engaged through a forum that aims to help them better understand the types of screening available to people, and also how to identify early symptoms and high-risk patients for screening.

Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore men and the second most in women here. Incidence rates are highest among Chinese.

But more have been coming forward for FOBT screening. About 24,600 people took the test last year, more than double the number in 2006.

However, there is still work to be done, said SCS chief executive Albert Ching. “We are only reaching a very small fraction of the 1.17 million Singapore residents who are above the age of 50 years.”

Cancer survivor Robert Hoo, 71, will agree. He said: “I’m very grateful that my cancer was detected at an early stage. If I had just gone for my regular check-up once every two years, without using the FOBT, it might have been too late for me.”

The FOBT kits will be available to the public for free at the SCS, Guardian stores, polyclinics, hospitals and roadshows starting this month.

asiaone – See more at: http://www.yourhealth.com.sg/content/push-detect-colorectal-cancer-early#sthash.nBSAZRm2.dpuf

Increase in colorectal cancer cases over past 5 years

Faecal occult blood test kit. (TODAY Photo)
Faecal occult blood test kit. (TODAY Photo)

 

SINGAPORE: The number of colorectal cancer cases in Singapore has gone up slightly over the past five years.

Latest figures from the National Registry of Diseases show that in the period of 2007-2011, a total of 8,459 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed. This is compared to 8,178 cases diagnosed in the period of 2006-2010.

Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in men. The incidence rate among the Chinese was the highest in both men and women while the median age at diagnosis of colorectal cancer was 67 years old.

Despite an increase in the number of Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) screening participants each year, the Singapore Cancer Society said not enough of those who are aged 50 and above are getting screened.

Associate Professor Tang Choong Leong, head and senior consultant at Department of Colorectal Surgery at Singapore General Hospital, said: “The most common reason is the ‘If it ain’t wrong, you don’t fix it’ mentality. That is one of the reasons why people don’t make themselves available. On the other hand, it is the lifestyle. We are very busy rushing here and there every day and making time for tests may be a problem.”

In 2012, the Singapore Cancer Society said there were 24,634 people who were screened using the FOBT kit, compared with 12,161 in 2006.

Last year, 60,000 FOBT kits were distributed. The Singapore Cancer Society said it saw a return rate of 74 per cent which they say is quite high when compared to the rest of the world.

To reach out to more people, the organisation will be distributing 65,000 of these kits, which can be picked up at retail stores, hospitals and clinics.

Free FOBT kits will be distributed at 71 Guardian Pharmacy stores, as well as polyclinics and the Singapore Cancer Society.

Seventy-one-year-old Robert Hoo, tested positive for colorectal cancer in 2009 after using a FOBT kit.

“I couldn’t believe I have colorectal cancer. All my life, I have been a very active person. I have been very careful with my food. I also take vitamin. I exercise a lot. My bowel is very, very accurate so I was very disappointed,” said Mr Hoo.

Part of his colon was removed to prevent the cancer from spreading and doctors consider him lucky as he was diagnosed early.

Colorectal cancer does not have any outward symptoms in its early stages but sufferers may experience minor bleeding from the affected part of the colon.

They said the majority of the cases diagnosed in the past five years are in the late stages of cancer where additional treatment to surgery, such as chemotherapy, is considered.

There will also be a more consolidated effort by various health agencies and hospitals to reach out to the public to raise awareness about this disease.

Assoc Prof Tang said: “Over the years, I believe there is some increase in awareness but still we are not reaching out to a large number of people in the age bracket that is eligible for screening. In fact in the last national survey on health, only roughly about 10 per cent of people are aware and the number of people who are practising screening are much less than that figure so the knowledge is there but not adequate and the practice is even worse.”

– CNA/fa – http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1257020/1/.html

Breath test points to colorectal cancer

PARIS: An experimental breath test can diagnose colorectal cancer with an accuracy of over 75 percent, Italian researchers reported on Wednesday.

The electronic “nose” detects key molecules emitted by tumours, a technique that is also being used in pioneering diagnostics for lung and breast cancer.

A team led by Donato Altomare of the Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation at the University Aldo Mori in Bari collected exhaled breath from 37 patients with colorectal cancer and 41 healthy counterparts.

The breath was then analysed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, which looked for a tiny chemical “fingerprint” for so-called volatile organic compounds linked to cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Europe, after lung cancer, and the third in the United States.

The human and economic cost of the disease is pushing the search for swift, cheap and simple diagnostic tools, compared to tests on stool DNA or faecal blood or a colonoscopy to detect dangerous polyps.

“The technique of breath sampling is very easy and non-invasive, although the method is still in the early phase of development,” said Altomare, “Our study’s findings provide further support for the value of breath testing as a screening tool.”

The paper is published in the British Journal of Surgery.

-AFP/fl

CNA

Colorectal cancer on the rise

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WORRYING: Smoking and poor diet may be causing 30,000 deaths a year

KUALA LUMPUR: COLORECTAL cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the second most common  cancer among Malaysians, raising serious concerns about our poor dietary habits, especially the consumption of foods high in saturated fats.

According to the World Health Organisation’s Globocan 2008 report, one in 33 Malaysians are at risk of developing colorectal cancer.

The most frequent cancers among Malaysians are breast, colorectal and lung cancer, with one in 19 Malaysians developing breast cancer, one in 33 developing colorectal cancer and one in 40 developing lung cancer.

“With an estimated annual incidence of 30,000 cancer deaths in the country, one in four Malaysians are expected to get cancer in their lifetime,” said Dr Gogilawani Muagan, education development manager of the National Cancer Society Malaysia.

She said the two major contributing factors that increase the risk of cancer were tobacco and smoking, and diet and obesity, each contributing to 31 per cent of all types of cancer.

Ratna Devi Nadarajan, chief executive officer of the Malaysian Association of Standards Users, said although there were many possible reasons for colon cancer, medical experts had identified various risk factors, which were related to food and diet.

This included a diet low in fibre and high in red and processed meats, alcohol, fried foods, cooking meats or any other food at very high heat, or cooking with saturated fats like lard and tallow.

She said there were many ways pollutants and carcinogens like pesticide residue could find their way into the fruits and vegetables we eat, but encouraging good agriculture practices and organic farming could minimise this risk.

Another worrying trend, she observed, was the underestimated consumption of deteriorated cooking oil, or food cooked by it, as it contained polar compounds.

These compounds were a by-product of cooking oil exposed to very high temperatures or resulting from prolonged exposure to high temperatures. This often happened when oil is used for frying. Total polar compounds, or TPCs, are suspected carcinogens and increase risk of heart-related diseases.

“Last year, we tested cooking oil packed in 1kg pouches and found high levels of polar compounds. If new cooking oil bought from retailers contain high levels of TPCs, there is valid reason to suspect that the cooking oil is either recycled cooking oil or has been mixed with recycled cooking oil. Some of the restaurants we visited in SS3, Kelana Jaya and the pasar malam there used the 1kg pouch, or the same ones, but in bulk packing.”

The Globocan report provides contemporary estimates of the incidence of, mortality and prevalence of major types of cancers, in 184 countries.

Earlier, in June, worldwide media reported that by 2030, cancer cases were expected to increase globally by 75 per cent, based on findings by international cancer experts published in the journal Lancet Oncology, with more developing countries adopting Western lifestyles linked to cancer.

Cancers of the lung, colon and breast, linked to bad diet and exercise, smoking and drinking, will account for at least one-fifth of new cancer cases. Dr Gogilawani said a majority of the patients were diagnosed at the later stages of the disease, due to lack of awareness and not going for cancer screenings.

So, is Malaysia experiencing a spike in cancer cases?

With the lack of up-to-date data, it is a difficult question to answer conclusively, said experts.

“We need an accurate and long- term cancer registry data,” said Malaysian Oncological Society president Dr Ahmad Kamal Mohamed.

“The first report of the National Cancer Registry Malaysia noted 26,089 new cancer cases in 2002, 21,464 new cancer cases in 2003 and 67,792 cases collectively for the years 2003 to 2005. There have been no Malaysian cancer registry figures after that.”

While not many studies have been done to see the connection between food and cancer, Dr Ahmad said it was believed that a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, with less fat and red meat, was better at reducing risks.

Read more: NST

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