Sign In

Colorectal Cancer

​Colorectal Cancer ​​​​​​​​​is the most common cancer among all males and second most common cancer among all females in Singapore.

​​Signs and Symptoms

Patients with no symptom​s may initially present with the presence of occult blood in stool samples during health screening.

Other common presentations of colo​rectal cancer include per rectal bleeding, loss of weight or appetite, change in bowel habits (alternating constipation and diarrhoea), abdominal distension and abdominal pain.

Causes and Risks factors

One of the important risk factors of colorectal cancer is family history of this condition, although hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes account for <5% of all diagnoses.

​Other risk factors include age, a regular diet of red meat or processed meat and smoking.

Treatments and Programmes

Colonoscopy is the main diagnostic modality for colorectal cancer because it can visualise and biopsy the tumour. Early detection of colorectal cancer through screening will enable early treatment and longer term survival. The 5-year survival rates for patients with localized, regional, and metastatic colon cancer are 91%, 72%, and 13% respectively.

Surgery is the primary form of treatment for colorectal cancer, and chemotherapy is commonly given after surgery. Today most colorectal cancer surgery is performed laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) if possible.

Patients will experience less post-operative pain and a shorter length of hospital stay. The Enhanced Perioperative Care (EPOC) pathway provides a systemic pre-operative to post-operative steps to enhance the recovery from colorectal cancer surgery. Occassionaly, patients with rectal cancer may require radiotherapy either pre- or post- ope​ratively.​​​

   Contributed by Department of ​Surgery​.