Colorectal cancer is the second highest in Malaysia, the number one in men and second among women in Malaysia, according to a study report of the National Cancer Registry (NCR) 2006. However, the fact that it is often found at a very late stage.
It is often mistaken and taken lightly as the symptoms for colorectal cancer are vague for example, stomach pain, difficult defecation and faecal bleeding. These symptoms are easily brushed off without further actions being taken.
What is more frightening is when symptoms of cancer that involve the anus or rectum only manifest when it reaches stage 2 of the disease progression.
Colorectal Cancer Prevention
The fact is that, like other diseases, prevention is better than cure. Colorectal cancer can be prevented with a high success rate if we take necessary steps to undergo screening tests through colonoscopy. Unfortunately, awareness of colorectal cancer amongst Malaysians are still low due to the exposure on the importance of early detection.
Polyps are lumps of cells or growth in the intestine that are harmless in nature. It is often small in size and therefore patients do no experience any symptoms. But over time, some polyps may develop into colon cancer. Therefore, through colonoscopy screening, polyps can be found and removed during the procedure to reduce the percentage of occurrence of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Procedure
Colonoscopy procedure is recommended for those aged 50 years or older and if the examination does not include any polyp, it can be repeated in the next 10 years. However, for those who have a family history of colorectal cancer, an earlier inspection is needed.
A colonoscopy procedure only takes 15 to 20 minutes and patients are given light sedation during the procedure and a flexible tube is inserted into the rectum with a video camera at the tip of the tube.