Primary Prevention:For those of us who have yet to have any symptoms but have higher risk to certain diseases, screening is paramount for early detection.
Identify those who are at risk of stomach, rectal and colon cancers:
- People who have a family member with cancer
- Those who eat preserved food (salted fish, egg, meat, and vegetables), processed (hot dogs, luncheon meat), grilled, or charcoaled meat, red meat (beef, pork, mutton) regularly
- People with certain types of gastric infection, and hereditary syndromes such as Hereditary Polyposis Syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
Screening for Stomach, Rectal and Colon Cancers
Advances in endoscopic technology have allowed doctors to detect early stages of stomach, rectal and colon cancer. The earlier the detection, the higher the chance of a better outcome.
At A Healing Heart Medical Clinic, we work closely with patients to prevent onset of disease and once any cause or risk is identified, we will help to set you on a roadmap to mitigate your risk and set you on the path of recovery.
Steps that we will take:
- Health screening detects root causes of stomach, rectal and colon cancers. Early detection of root causes helps to reduce risk of developing into more serious conditions.
- Lifestyle management should start with keeping a healthy diet and stopping habits such as smoking/heavy drinking.
We recommend the following health screenings:
Urea Breath Test (UBT)
H. pylori infections are very common. It is estimated to have infected 50% of the world’s population.
H. pylori infection is a major cause of peptic ulcer disease, and its presence also increases your risk of gastritis and stomach cancer.
However, most people never have symptoms. Bloating, burning pain in the middle or upper stomach between meals or at night, heartburn, nausea, weight loss are some common symptoms.
UBT is a safe and easy way to detect H. pylori bacteria and also determine treatment success.
It is non-invasive and can be done at our clinic within 30 mins and results would be known the next working day.
Upper Digestive Tract Endoscopy (Oesophageal-gastroduodenoscopy, OGD)
An upper endoscopy is recommended to investigate, diagnose, and treat conditions that affect the upper part of your digestive system. This includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper part of the small intestine).
This procedure is used to diagnose and treat acid reflux, stomach ulcers, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and other digestive tract problems.
Lower Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract Endoscopy (Colonoscopy)
A lower GI endoscopy is recommended for both men and women aged 45 and above to get routine colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. This age group has an increased risk for colon cancer and will need to get screened regularly.
This procedure is also used as a screening test in individuals with no symptoms, or to help diagnose unexplained abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or a change in bowel habits.
Secondary Prevention:Symptoms have appeared and you would need to evaluate further for rapid detection and identification of root causes and prevent complications.
You should consider endoscopy when you have unexplained weight loss, chronic tiredness, chronic cough, coughing out or vomiting blood, difficulty swallowing, blood in the stool, abdominal pain (frequent gas pains, bloating, cramps), and change in appetite.
At A Healing Heart Medical, our team will assess you and look for any potential complications and if stabilising therapy is required while awaiting for scopes, we will see to it. Our ENT and General Surgery and Gastroenterology partners will assist with immediate or very early access to scopes without you having to worry about long waiting times and any potential delay in your treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is endoscopy?
Endoscopy is a procedure that uses fibre-optic technology to examine the inner stomach, small and large intestines, rectum, nasal airways and lungs. An anaesthetic spray will be given to numb the nostril or mouth prior to the scope. If a patient is uncomfortable with being awake during the procedure, short duration of general anaesthesia can be arranged but this may require a short stay at the day surgery. The procedure involves inserting a long and flexible fibreoptic tube into the nostril, the throat, or the anus.
How to prepare for endoscopy?
Patient needs to fast (no drinking and eating for four to eight hours) before endoscopy to ensure your stomach is empty for the procedure. For scopes involving the colon and rectum, there will be a need to take certain medications to clear the bowel of any stools 1 day before the scope. You may need to stop taking certain medications, such as strong blood-thinning medication, a few days before your endoscopy but this should be after consulting our doctors.