Primary school children and companies help to spread colorectal cancer awareness

Ms Gunaselvan Eswiriya, 11, who will advise her elder loved ones to get tested for colorectal cancer. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL 
Ms Gunaselvan Eswiriya, 11, who will advise her elder loved ones to get tested for colorectal cancer. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL 

School children are the new target of an awareness campaign during this year's Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) and the National University Hospital are working with two primary schools, Bukit Timah and Fuhua, to get children to understand the ailment. It is hoped that these young ones will urge their elder loved ones to get tested. The risk of colorectal cancer spikes for those above 50.

Companies are also pledging their support for colorectal cancer awareness. Eight organisations including SMRT and Shell will bring doctors to their premises to give healthcare talks about colorectal cancer. Posters may be displayed in canteens and pantries. Free colorectal cancer testing kits may also be given out to workers over 50 while younger workers can also get these free kits for their elder loved ones. These test kits are self-administered as users send in stool samples for lab testing.

"We want to ensure that our workers and their loved ones are healthy," said vice-president of SMRT's sports and recreational club Henry Lim. "This will save them a lot of pain and grief."

Colorectal cancer is Singapore's top cancer with about 1,700 cases diagnosed every year. Factors associated with the disease include a low-fibre, high-fat diet, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity.

This month, free colorectal cancer screening kits will be given out at SingHealth and National Healthcare Group polyclinics. These kits are also available at 73 selected Guardian outlets and the Singapore Cancer Society's offices at Bishan and Realty Centre.

Dr Cheong Wai Kit, oncology surgeon and chairman of this year's Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign, said: "Testing early saves lives. So test for colorectal cancer and test early."

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