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Stomach (Gastric) And Colorectal Cancer

Learn more about stomach (gastric) cancer, colorectal cancer, and their corresponding screening methods, gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

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.

Gastric Cancer
Stomach (Gastric) Cancer

What Is Stomach (Gastric) Cancer?

Stomach cancer is an adenocarcinoma of the stomach (gastric cancer). Stomach or gastric cancer begins when cells in any part of the stomach grow and divide abnormally. These cells can grow into a tumour. Tumours can develop anywhere in the stomach, but most begin in the glandular tissue on the stomach’s inner surface. The cancer may spread along the stomach wall or may develop directly through the wall and spread into the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Once beyond the stomach, cancer can spread to other organs.

Mortality Rate For Stomach Cancer In Singapore

Stomach cancer has the sixth highest mortality rate among cancers for males in Singapore. According to the Singapore Cancer Registry’s 2019 report, stomach cancer accounted for 5.6% (869 deaths) of cancer deaths in males between 2015-2019. In women, stomach cancer accounted for 5.1% (658 deaths) of cancer deaths, making it the seventh highest mortality rate among cancers. On average, it is responsible for 300 deaths every year.

Is Stomach Cancer Treatable?

If stomach cancer is detected early, it is treatable. In many cases, stomach cancer is asymptomatic in its initial stages, causing many patients to be diagnosed at a late or advanced stage. Therefore, it is important to undergo regular health screening for early detection of stomach cancer. The success rate for treatment for Stage I stomach cancer is more than 50%. 

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

    • Discomfort or chronic pain in the stomach or abdomen.
    • Discomfort akin to indigestion (Dyspepsia).
    • A burning sensation after meals (Heartburn).
    • Bloated feeling after meals.
    • Early feeling of fullness despite a small meal.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Unexplained weight loss.
    • Unexplainable fatigue.

Who Should Consider Stomach Cancer Screening

    • 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.

Get Screened For Stomach Cancer

Stomach (gastric) screening is important for early detection of stomach (gastric) cancer. It is done to identify any abnormal changes or cancerous growths in the stomach lining as early as possible, when the disease may be more treatable.

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GASTROClear™ by local biotech firm Mirxes, is a biomarker blood test developed locally in Singapore that makes it easy and cost-effective to screen for the risk of gastric cancer. Minimally invasive and less time-consuming, it is a cancer marker test that measures the levels of 12 microRNAs in the blood that are associated with gastric cancer. Learn more about it by clicking the button below.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the top killer cancer 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. The risk of having colorectal cancer rises with age. 

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer or colon cancer usually begins as a non-cancerous tissue growth (polyp) on the inner portions of the colon or rectum, turning cancerous over time if it remains undetected. Colorectal cancer typically begins in the large intestine in the form of benign cell clumps, and some of these later may become cancerous.

Mortality Rate For Colorectal Cancer In Singapore

Colorectal cancer incidence rate is 16.9% for men and 13.1% for women from 2015-2019, making it the top 3 most diagnosed cancer types in Singapore. Its mortality rate of 14.5% in men and 15.6% in women makes it also one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths.

Is Colorectal Cancer Treatable?

With regular screening, colorectal cancer is one of the more curable malignancies. Early detection and removal of colorectal cancer cells, which are localised to the large intestine, can significantly lower the risk of further cancer development.

Furthermore, colorectal cancer treatment is most successful in its early stages. If discovered at stage one, colorectal cancer survival rates in Singapore for both men and women are close to 84% and 86%, respectively. However, if cancer progresses to stage four, survival rates drop to 10% for men and 11% for women.

The five-year age-standardised relative survival rate for colon and rectum cancers in both males and females for 2015-2019 is about 61% each.

Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer

Consult your family doctor or gastroenterologist if you experience any of these symptoms:

    • Blood in the stool or bleeding from the rectum.
    • Changes in bowel habits.
    • Persistent abdominal discomfort or pain.
    • Incomplete emptying of the bowel.
    • Unexplained weight loss.

Who Should Consider Colorectal Cancer Screening

    • 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.

Get Screened For Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer screening is important for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon and rectum. Screening methods are employed to identify precancerous growths (polyps) or cancer at its earliest stages, often when it is more treatable or curable. 

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