Colon cancer is a frightening word for anyone to hear. For those who have been diagnosed with it, or are at risk for developing it, that fear can be all-consuming. But this type of cancer is relatively common, and can be treated effectively if caught early. Being aware of the risk factors and making lifestyle changes can also reduce the chances of colon cancer. In this post, OncoCare, a leading colon cancer specialist in Singapore discusses what is colon cancer, how to prevent it, the most common spread sites for colon cancer, and treatment methods.
You may have heard of Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori before but you may not know exactly what it is. H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can live in your stomach and sometimes cause an infection. Most people who have H. pylori don’t have any symptoms, but some people with it can eventually develop stomach ulcers or even stomach (gastric) cancer. Here’s what you need to know about the link between H. pylori and stomach cancer risk.
Through the media, we have heard about the number one cancer in Singapore – colorectal cancer, which refers to the cancer of the colon or rectum. Due to the high prevalence of this disease, we may know of someone or heard of someone diagnosed with colorectal cancer. According to data from the Ministry of Health in Singapore, colon cancer is the most common cancer in males and the second most common in females.
It is no secret that Singaporeans love spicy food. From the tongue-numbing Ma La originating from Chongqing, China to spicy sambal from our favourite Nasi Padang stalls, spice is almost essential for our daily meals here on this sunny island. While spice elevates our food, is it really good for our health to consume spicy food on the regular?
Stomach or gastric cancer is a top 10 cancer in Singapore from the Singapore Cancer Registry publication 2008 to 2012. It affects males more than females, and usually after 50 years old. Chinese ethnicity is at a higher risk compared to Malays or Indians in the registry data. However, the incidence over the years is decreasing. Some countries like Japan, have an established screening program because of the high incidence of gastric cancer. Common symptoms at initial diagnosis are weight loss and persistent abdominal pain, although it is emphasized that not all weight loss is due to stomach cancer. Some people might wonder, “Is my weight loss due to stomach cancer?” It is often not easy to differentiate as an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is needed to visualize the stomach and if needed a biopsy is taken. Barium studies are sometimes performed but a biopsy would have to be done separately if suspicious findings are seen.
Gastric cancer types
Although lymphoma (such as diffuse large cell lymphoma or MALT lymphoma) , gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) and other less common types can arise from the stomach, primary stomach cancer usually refers to carcinoma arising from the lining of the stomach and are of 2 main histopathological types (Lauren’s Classification) :
Intestinal type (well differentiated)
Diffuse type (undifferentiated)
As part of the digestive tract, the large intestine consists of the caecum (or cecum), ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon and the rectum. Colorectal cancer refers to a cancer arising from these parts of the large intestine. The anatomy of the large intestine is shown in the picture provided.