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Understanding Colonoscopy in Singapore

In Singapore, where colorectal cancer ranks as the one of the more prevalent cancers among men and women, colonoscopy plays a vital role in early detection and prevention efforts. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the ins and outs of colonoscopy, including its procedure, benefits, risks, and frequently asked questions. Ultimately, we will answer when it is a good time to perform colonoscopy.


Understanding Colonoscopy in Singapore


In Singapore, colorectal cancer incidence rates are high among both men and women. Hence, regular colonoscopy screenings are recommended, especially for individuals aged 50 and above.


Colonoscopy is a critical tool in the fight against colorectal cancer, as it allows for the detection of precancerous polyps and early-stage cancers. It is the gold standard for complete large bowel evaluation. Early detection is key to improving treatment outcomes and increasing survival rates. Moreover, colonoscopy is not only a diagnostic tool but also a preventive measure, as the removal of precancerous polyps during the procedure can prevent the development of colorectal cancer.


The Colonoscopy Procedure


During a colonoscopy, patients in Singapore are sedated to ensure their comfort throughout the procedure. The colonoscope is gently inserted through the rectum and advanced through the entire length of the colon. This thorough examination allows doctors to identify and remove precancerous polyps, reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.


The procedure typically takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on the complexity of the case. Patients may experience mild discomfort or bloating during the procedure, but this is usually temporary and resolves quickly after the procedure is completed.


Benefits of Colonoscopy in Singapore


Colonoscopy can be effective in detecting colorectal cancer at an early stage when it is most treatable. By identifying and removing precancerous polyps, colonoscopy can prevent the development of colorectal cancer altogether.


Regular colonoscopy screenings can reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer in Singapore. Some studies have shown that individuals who undergo regular screenings have a lower incidence of colorectal cancer and a lower mortality rate from the disease.


Colonoscopy provides a thorough examination of the entire colon, ensuring a more accurate assessment of its health. This comprehensive approach is crucial in Singapore's efforts to combat colorectal cancer.


Risks of Colonoscopy in Singapore


While colonoscopy is generally considered safe, it carries some risks, including:


  • Bleeding: There is a small risk of bleeding, particularly if polyps are removed during the procedure. Most cases of bleeding are minor and resolve on their own, but in rare cases, additional treatment may be needed.


  • Perforation: In rare instances, the colonoscope may cause a small tear or hole in the colon wall, known as perforation. This can lead to infection or other complications and may require surgical repair.


  • Adverse Reaction to Sedation: Some patients may experience an adverse reaction to the sedative medications used during the procedure. This can include respiratory depression, allergic reactions, or other complications.


Is there ever a good time for colonoscopy?


In Singapore, the approach to colorectal cancer screening, including when to have a colonoscopy, is guided by both international best practices and local healthcare policies. The Ministry of Health in Singapore recommends that individuals start screening for colorectal cancer at the age of 50, especially for those who are at average risk. This aligns with the emphasis on early detection and prevention, considering that colorectal cancer is among the cancers affecting many Singaporeans.


For individuals with higher risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, genetic predispositions, or personal health conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, it may be advisable to start screenings earlier than the standard recommendation. The decision on when to undergo a colonoscopy should be made after a thorough discussion with a healthcare professional.




Colonoscopy is a valuable tool for maintaining digestive health and preventing colorectal cancer in Singapore. By understanding the procedure, its benefits, risks, and what to expect, individuals can take proactive steps to safeguard their health. If you have any further questions or concerns about colonoscopy, don't hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider Somerset Imaging Centre.

When would you need an Colonoscopy?

Q: Is colonoscopy painful?


A: Patients are typically sedated during the procedure, so they should not feel any pain. Some patients may experience mild discomfort or bloating afterward, but this usually subsides quickly.


Q: How often should I have a colonoscopy?


A: The recommended frequency of colonoscopy screenings depends on factors such as age, personal and family medical history, and previous screening results. Your healthcare provider can help determine the appropriate screening schedule for you.


Q: What should I expect during the bowel preparation process?


A: Bowel preparation is a crucial step before colonoscopy to ensure the colon is clear for optimal visualization. This typically involves following a special diet and taking laxatives to empty the bowels completely. Your healthcare provider will provide specific instructions tailored to your needs.

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