Gastrointestinal Health – Screening For Stomach And Colorectal Cancer

GastroIntestinal Health & Screening For Stomach And Colorectal Cancer

Learn more about gastrointestinal health - the common gastrointestinal cancers as well as colon and stomach cancer screening.

Learn More About Stomach And Colorectal Cancer

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Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? 

    • Discomfort or chronic pain in the stomach or abdomen.
    • Discomfort akin to indigestion (Dyspepsia).
    • A burning sensation after meals (Heartburn).
    • Blood in the stool or bleeding from the rectum.
    • Changes in bowel habits.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Unexplained weight loss.
    • Unexplainable fatigue.

If so,  you might be facing some gastrointestinal conditions, including stomach cancer or colon cancer, or a number of other diseases related to the digestive system. 

The digestive system plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. Maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall vitality. In this page, we will explore the importance of gastrointestinal health, focusing on common cancers such as stomach and colon cancer, and the screening tests available for their early detection.

Common Gastrointestinal Cancers

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer

Stomach cancer is the 7th and 9th most common cancer in men and women in Singapore, respectively. Stomach cancer affects men more than women, and is common among older ages. It has the sixth highest mortality rate among cancers for males in Singapore and on average, it is responsible for 300 deaths every year.

Risk Factors Include:

    • Aged 40 years and above with a family history of cancer or stomach ailments.
    • Experiencing upper abdominal pain.
    • Chronic heartburn or acid reflux.
    • Upper abdominal area pain or discomfort.
    • Unexplained weight loss.
    • Blood in the stool.
    • Iron deficiency anemia.
    • Experiencing pain when swallowing.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the top killer cancer in Singapore and the top 3 most diagnosed cancer types in Singapore. It is the top cancer for men with an average of over 1,300 cases diagnosed each year between 2016 and 2020. While for women, it is the second most common cancer with an average of over 1,000 new cases each year. 

Risk Factors Include:

    • Aged 50 years old or above.
    • A family history of colorectal cancer.
    • Previous history of polyps or colorectal diseases.
    • Unexplained change in bowel habit.
    • Blood in the stool.
    • Unexplained loss of weight.
    • Abdominal pain or bloatedness.
    • Chronic diarrhea or constipation.
    • Iron deficiency anemia.

Screening For Stomach and Colon Cancer

There are various methods used for stomach cancer screening including GASTROClear™, a biomarker blood test, tumour marker blood tests such as Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) and CA 19-9, and gastroscopy. Gastroscopy is considered the gold standard for stomach cancer screening that detects and diagnoses abnormalities in the food pipe, stomach and upper part of the small intestine. 

GASTROClear™ Stomach Cancer Blood Test By MiRXES

GASTROClear™ by Singapore biotech firm MiRXES, is a biomarker blood test that makes it easy and convenient for people to get screened for the risk of stomach cancer. Minimally invasive and less time-consuming, it is a biomarker blood test that measures the levels of 12 microRNAs (genetic materials) in the blood that are associated with stomach cancer. 

The result from the GASTROClear test will tell whether the patient is at low risk, moderate risk or high risk of getting stomach cancer.

GASTROClear testing is available from our partner AsiaMedic (package above), and also available at over 50 clinics and hospitals in Singapore. If you are interested in getting tested with GASTROClear at other healthcare providers, you can consult Mirxes’ listing to find a clinic or hospital near you that offers this product.

Gastroscopy Screening For Stomach Cancer

A gastroscopy is an endoscopic procedure for detecting and diagnosing abnormalities in the food pipe, stomach and upper part of the small intestine. Gastroscopy is useful as it can help doctors to identify conditions that have yet to present any symptoms. Such conditions if left untreated could progress and become more difficult to treat. 

Colonoscopy Screening For Colorectal Cancer

Colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer is (to date) the best screening method as it enables the doctor to detect and remove the polyp before it becomes cancer.

Colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure for examining the inside of the colon. During colonoscopy, a colonoscope is inserted into the patient through the rectum. The colonoscope is a long, soft and flexible tube about 1 cm in width, with a small video camera located at the end. With this, the doctor can see the inside of the colon and diagnose any abnormality. The procedure may take about 20 – 30 minutes.

Polyps and other types of abnormal tissues that are discovered during a colonoscopy may be removed using the colonoscope during the procedure. 

Experts recommend a colonoscopy once every 10 years for people aged 50 and above, who are of average risk for the disease. In the interim years, Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can be undertaken annually. It can detect the presence of small amounts of blood in faeces and can be nearly 80% accurate in detecting colorectal cancer. If the results are positive, the patient should follow up with further investigations to confirm the cause of the results.

Consult Our Preferred Doctor On Gastroscopy And Colonoscopy

Dr Benjamin Yip is a Consultant Gastroenterologist in Singapore, and the Medical Director at Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre. He has expertise in advanced endoscopy and also regularly performs general endoscopies including gastroscopy and colonoscopy (diagnostic and therapeutic).

Dr Yip has performed over 6,000 endoscopies since 2010, and is the winner of the Alexandra Health Service Champion Award (2016) in recognition of his dedication to patient care.

Meet Dr Benjamin Yip – Gastroenterologist In Singapore

Get to know Dr Benjamin Yip (Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist), the Medical Director of Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre in Singapore.

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Click on the images below to contact us to arrange a consultation with Dr Benjamin Yip.

Gastroscopy Stomach Cancer Screening - Dr Benjamin Yip

Other Gastroenterologist In Singapore You May Consider

For your convenient reference, we have also compiled a (non-comprehensive) list of gastroenterologists in Singapore.

Gastroenterologists In Singapore

We have compiled for your easy reference from various public sources a list of gastroenterologists in Singapore. A gastroenterologist has.

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Other Tests To Detect Gastrointestinal Diseases

In addition to gastroscopy and colonoscopy, various diagnostic tests play a crucial role in detecting gastrointestinal diseases. Imaging studies, such as abdominal ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs, provide detailed visuals of the digestive organs, aiding in the identification of structural abnormalities. Blood tests are valuable for assessing inflammation, infection, or nutritional deficiencies. Stool tests analyse samples for signs of infection, inflammation, or blood, offering insights into digestive health. Endoscopic procedures, such as capsule endoscopy, involve swallowing a small camera that captures images as it passes through the digestive tract, assisting in the diagnosis of conditions affecting the small intestine. Additionally, breath tests can help identify issues like bacterial overgrowth or malabsorption. 

These diverse diagnostic tools enable your gastroenterologist to comprehensively evaluate and diagnose various gastrointestinal conditions, facilitating early intervention and appropriate treatment.

Why Not Check For Overall Health And For Other Cancers Too?

Our partner AsiaMedic offers comprehensive health screening packages that checks on overall health, in addition to cancer. Their Classic Screening packages are inclusive of the GastroClear test for stomach cancer, as well as several tomour marker tests for liver, colon, prostate (males) and ovarian (female) cancer.

Consult Our Preferred Doctor On Health Screening

Dr Chua Boon Suan is the Senior Resident Physician at AsiaMedic in Singapore. For many years of her career, she saw patients at the Health Screening and Wellness Centres at various hospitals and helps patients manage their chronic illnesses.

Meet Dr Chua Boon Suan – Health Screening Specialist In Singapore

Get to know Dr Chua Boon Suan, Health Screening Specialist and the Senior Resident Physician at AsiaMedic Wellness Assessment Centre.

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Book A Health Screening With Us

If you have any questions related to gastrointestinal screening, health screening, and if you are interested in booking a screening procedure, please contact us by clicking the button below.

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.