The Myths And Truths Behind Colorectal Cancer

Myth: Colorectal Cancer is a man’s disease.

FACT: Colorectal cancer is equally common in women as it is in men in Singapore. For me, it is the no. 1 diagnosed cancer and 2nd cancer killer. For women, it is the no. 2 diagnosed cancer and 3rd cancer killer.

Myth: I don’t have any symptoms of colon cancer, so there’s no reason to get screened.

FACT: Colorectal cancer is a silent killer. Often there are no obvious signs or symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer. Regular screening is the key to early detection. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have already deteriorated to an advanced stage.

Myth: Colorectal Cancer is not preventable.

FACT: It is in fact highly preventable through regular cancer screenings and leading a healthy lifestyle, through eating healthy, exercising regularly, eliminating tobacco, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Myth: Age does not matter when it comes to Colorectal Cancer.

FACT: Colorectal cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men and women who are 50 years old and above. Screening regularly for colorectal cancer should begin when you reach the age of 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you are at a higher risk. Screening for colorectal cancer should ideally begin when you are younger.

Myth: Colorectal Cancer is a deadly disease and is incurable.

FACT: If detected early as a small localised cancer that has not yet spreade, i.e. in Stage I and II, it is a highly treatable disease. The survival rate for patients who were diagnosed in an early stage is high. However, when colon cancer is detected at later stages, the chances for a full recovery are much lower.

Myth: Having a polyp means I have Colorectal Cancer.

FACT: A polyp is an abnormal tissue growth or tumour that appears on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Most polyps are benign. However, some polyps can develop into colorectal cancer over time. They can be removed easily during a colonoscopy, eliminating the possibility that they could become cancerous.

Myth: I don’t need to get screened for Colorectal Cancer as I have no family history of Colorectal Cancer.

FACT: Only about 20% of colorectal cancer patients have a family member with colorectal cancer. Most patients do not have a family member who has been a victim or survivor of the disease. You can still get colorectal cancer even without a family history of the disease.

 

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