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Procedure, Benefits, and Importance of Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is not just a routine medical procedure; it's a critical tool in the fight against colorectal cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers in Singapore. Let's delve into what colonoscopy entails, its benefits, and why it's essential for your digestive health.


What is Colonoscopy?


Colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the lining of the colon and rectum. In Singapore, where colorectal cancer is a common cancer among both men and women, colonoscopy plays a pivotal role in early detection and prevention.


In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube equipped with a camera and light source, called a colonoscope, is inserted through the rectum and guided through the entire length of the colon. This allows the doctor to visualize the colon's lining and identify any abnormalities, such as polyps or signs of inflammation.


Why is Colonoscopy Performed?


  • Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer: Singapore's high incidence of colorectal cancer underscores the importance of regular screening. Colonoscopy can detect precancerous growths known as polyps, which can be removed before they become cancerous. Early detection is crucial for improving treatment outcomes and increasing survival rates.


  • Diagnostic Tool for Gastrointestinal Issues: Beyond cancer screening, colonoscopy helps diagnose various gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. It enables doctors to identify the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, or unexplained weight loss.


How is Colonoscopy Performed?


  1. Preparation: Bowel preparation is crucial for a successful colonoscopy. Patients in Singapore are typically given detailed instructions on dietary restrictions and laxative use to ensure their bowels are adequately cleansed. This may involve consuming a clear liquid diet and taking laxatives to empty the colon completely. Adequate bowel preparation is essential for optimal visualization of the colon and accurate detection of abnormalities.


  1. During the Procedure: Patients are sedated to minimize discomfort during the procedure. The colonoscope is inserted gently through the rectum and advanced slowly through the colon. The camera on the tip of the colonoscope transmits high-definition images to a monitor, allowing the doctor to examine the colon's lining in real-time. If polyps or suspicious areas are detected, they can be removed or biopsied during the procedure for further analysis.


  1. Biopsy and Polyp Removal: If polyps or abnormal tissue are found during the colonoscopy, the doctor may perform a biopsy or remove them using specialized instruments. Biopsy samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine if they are cancerous or precancerous. Removing polyps can help prevent the development of colorectal cancer and reduce the risk of future complications.


Benefits of Colonoscopy


Removing precancerous polyps during colonoscopy can prevent the development of colorectal cancer, potentially saving lives. Clinical studies have shown that regular colonoscopy screenings can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.


Colorectal cancer, when detected early, can be treatable. Regular colonoscopies can detect cancer in its early stages, before it has spread to other parts of the body. Early detection improves treatment outcomes and increases the chances of successful recovery.


Colonoscopy provides a thorough examination of the entire colon, offering a more comprehensive screening compared to other methods such as fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) or sigmoidoscopy. It allows doctors to visualize the entire colon and identify abnormalities that may be missed by other screening tests.


Importance of Colonoscopy


Singaporeans can reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer through regular colonoscopy screenings. The Ministry of Health recommends that individuals aged 50 and above undergo regular screening for colorectal cancer, especially if they have a family history of the disease or other risk factors.


Early detection and intervention through colonoscopy can lead to better health outcomes and quality of life. By detecting colorectal cancer in its early stages, doctors can initiate prompt treatment and prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. This can improve survival rates and increase the chances of long-term remission.


Moreover, colonoscopy isn't just about cancer detection; it's about promoting overall digestive health and preventing gastrointestinal issues. By identifying and treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis, colonoscopy can help patients manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Take Charge of Your Health Today


Don't wait until it's too late. If you're over the age of 50 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, there are benefits to scheduling a colonoscopy screening. If you're experiencing symptoms such as persistent abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, or unexplained weight loss, don't hesitate to seek medical advice.


At Somerset Imaging Centre, we're committed to your digestive health. Call us today at +65 6797 0220 to learn more about colonoscopy or to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. Your health is our priority, and early detection can save lives.

When would you need an Endoscopy?

If you’re suffering from these common digestive symptoms, please seek further assessment: 

  • Heartburn

  • Acid reflux 

  • Persistent vomiting and nausea 

  • Blood in stools

  • Persistent diarrhea or constipation

The above are several situations where seeing a gastroenterologist for assessment and a gastroscopy or colonoscopy would help with early detection or diagnosis of digestive diseases. 
Endoscopy can detect problems with: 

  • Oesophagus and stomach

  • Duodenum, jenunum and ileum 

  • Colon and rectum

Our gastroenterologist will do a comprehensive assessment of your condition, symptoms, and concerns to recommend suitable screening and tests to give you a peace of mind. 

Patient FAQs about Colonoscopy Singapore

How can I prepare before the gastroscopy / colonoscopy? 

  • Fasting at least 6 hours before procedure.  

  • In order to have a good assessment of the large intestine, it is important to follow the instructions provided for bowel preparation properly.

What complications can occur during the screening? 

  • Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy are generally safe procedures. All the risk of complications are less than 1%. 

What if the screening detects abnormalities with my digestive tract? 

  • If the screening detects abnormalities with digestive tract, our doctor might order some others test to confirm the problems and give treatment accordingly.  

How long will the screening take? 

  • The screening for Gastroscopy normally will take 10 – 15 minutes.

  • The screening for Colonoscopy normally will take 30 – 45 minutes.

Colonoscopy Screening Options in Singapore


  • Gastroscopy and/or Colonoscopy  

  • Gastroclear miRNA markers 


  • Gastroscopy and/or Colonoscopy  

  • Gastroclear miRNA markers 

  • Either of the following depending on the clinical needs 

  1. Ultrasound abdomen and/or Ultrasound Pelvis 

  2. MRI Abdomen and/or MRI Pelvis 

  3. CT Abdomen and/or CT Pelvis 

  • MRI Liver Fat Quantification 

Check out our Screening packages including Colonoscopy Singapore.

Colonoscopy Singapore

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