What Is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is cancer that starts in the colon (large intestine), located at the final part of the digestive system. Colon cancer affects older adults more often, although younger people may also develop colon cancer. It is a common cancer in Singapore. Tumour marker test for colon cancer is offered by clinics as part of their health screening packages in Singapore.
Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer can be screened for using a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) whereby a sample of the patient’s stool is analysed for the presence of blood. Other methods of screening of colon cancer in Singapore is through procedures to visually inspect the colon such as colonoscopy.
Tumour Marker Test For Colon Cancer
Tumour markers, also known as biomarkers, are proteins produced by cancer cells or other cells in the body in response to malignancy. Colon cancer tumour markers can be found in the blood and can be tested for with blood samples. The presence of tumour markers could indicate the presence of cancer in the body.
Elevated levels of tumour markers level by itself is insufficient to make a diagnosis. There could be both false-positive or false-negative errors in tumour marker testing. Tumour markers are thus used in conjunction with other tests to assist in detecting cancer, predicting prognosis following diagnosis, aid in therapy decisions, monitor a patient’s response to cancer treatment, and to monitor for cancer recurrence.
A reduction in a tumour marker could indicate that the cancer was responding to treatment. If there is no change or the tumour marker level rises, it may mean that the treatment was unsuccessful or that the cancer has returned. These findings will be compared to radiological testing, a physical exam, and any symptoms the patient may be experiencing.
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) testing is a tumour marker test to detect CEA. CEA is a tumour marker that may indicate the presence of certain cancers, including colon cancer. This test is widely utilised around the world. Its primary use is in gastrointestinal cancers, particularly colorectal cancer. CEA is the most common predictor of recurrence in asymptomatic patients and is currently the most cost-effective test for detecting relapsing from cancer in the preclinical stage.
Use Of Tumour Marker Test For Screening Of Colon Cancer
Clinics in Singapore commonly offer tumour marker testing for colon cancer. As highlighted, this alone is insufficient to conclusively indicate either the presence or absence of colon cancer. However, unless you are already intending to undergo a colonoscopy, such a test may nonetheless be useful for alerting you to the risk of such cancer – i.e. if you receive a result showing elevated of tumour markers, you should consult your doctors on appropriate follow-up testing to ascertain the cause of the results.
Where You Can Get Tumour Marker Testing For Colon And Other Cancers
Below are some of the clinics and their health screening packages (that include cancer marker tests) in Singapore:
- Advanced Medicine Imaging.
- Alpha Digestive and Liver Centre (GastroClear testing for stomach cancer)
- Lifescan Medical.
- Minmed Group.
- Parkway Cancer Centre (enquire for customised cancer screening).
- Parkway Shenton.
- Raffles Medical Group.
Further Reading On Colon Cancer
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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.